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Spring and Potential Energy

The Great Sandini is a circus performer with mass 60.0 kg who is shot from a cannon (actually a spring gun). You don't find many men of his caliber, so you help him design a new gun. This new gun has a very large spring with a very small mass and a force constant of 1300 N/m that he will compress with a force of 5000 N. The inside of the gun barrel is coated with Teflon, so the average friction force will be only 48.0 N during the distance of 4.70 m that he moves in the barrel. At what speed will he emerge from the end of the barrel, a distance 1.80 m above his initial rest position?

Solution Preview

The spring compression is 5,000 N/(1,300 N/m) = 3.846 m (using F = k * x --> x = F/k)
The energy of the spring will be: 0.5 * 1,300 * (3.846)^2 = 9,615 J (using E = 0.5 * k * x^2)

The ...

Solution Summary

This solution calculates the speed of a circus performer being launched outside of a cannon.