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Distance Traversed by Particle on Surface of Rotating Disk

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A spinning disk (i.e., a rotating disk) has a radius of 6 cm (6 centimeters) and a constant rate of rotation of 7200 rpm (7200 revolutions per minute). Find the total distance traversed in 5 seconds by a particle of dust that lies at a point on the surface of the disk which is at a distance of 2.5 cm from the center. Express your answer in units of meters.

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The total distance traversed by the particle in 5 seconds is the product of the distance traversed in one revolution of the disk and the number of revolutions that take place in 5 seconds.

Since the time is given in seconds and the rate of rotation is given in units of revolutions per minute, we will express the time (5 seconds) in units of minutes.

There are 60 seconds in 1 minute, so

5 seconds = (5 seconds) X [(1 minute)/(60 seconds)] = (5/60) minutes = (1/12) minute

The number of revolutions of ...

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  • AB, Hood College
  • PhD, The Catholic University of America
  • PhD, The University of Maryland at College Park
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