Homework for Center of Mass

  1. (FreeCoM) Some students believe that the theorems about center-of-mass motion apply only to rigid, extended bodies. This relatively simple problem shows that they apply to any collection of masses, even two completely non-interacting masses.

    Consider two particles of equal mass $m$. The forces on the particles are $\Vec F_1=0$ and $\Vec F_2=F_0\hat{x}$. If the particles are initially at rest at the origin, find the position, velocity, and acceleration of the center of mass as functions of time. Solve this problem in two ways, with or without theorems about the center of mass motion. Write a short description comparing the two solutions.

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