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Acceleration and Velocity of Spheres at Different Points

Three small spheres with charge 2.00 mC are arranged in a line, with sphere 2 in the middle. Adjacent spheres are initially 8.0 cm apart. The spheres have masses m_1 = 20.0 g, m_2 = 85.0 g, and m_3 = 20.0 g. Their radii are much smaller than their separation. The three spheres are released from rest.

1. Find the acceleration of sphere 1 just after it is released?

2. What is the speed of sphere 1 when the spheres are far apart?

3. What is the speed of sphere 2 when the spheres are far apart?

4. What is the speed of sphere 3 when the spheres are far apart?

I understand that it is again a conservation of energy problem. I can calculate initial potential energy based on:

U = qV = qk(q_1/r_1 + q_2/r_1 + q_3/r_1)

I tried finding the electric field using this potential because of:

V = E*d with d = 0.08 m

Then I tried to find the Electrical force according to: F = q*E

Then I tried finding the acceleratoin given by: a = F/mass

I got 2.80 * 10^8 m/s^2 which is not the right answer.

Thank you!!!

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Solution Summary

The solution shows how you can find the speed and acceleration of charged spheres released from rest close to each other.