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# PHYSICS CHAPTER 7

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CHAPTER 7:
Gravitation
(2 Hours)
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PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
In this chapter, we learns about
7.1 Gravitational force and field strength
7.2 Gravitational potential
7.3 Satellite motion in a circular orbit
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PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
7.1 Gravitational Force and Field
Strength
7.1.1 Newtons law of gravitation
7.1.2 Gravitational Field
7.1.3 Gravitational force and field strength
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PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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At the end of this chapter, students should be able to:
State and use the Newtons law of gravitation,
Learning Outcome:
7.1 Newtons law of gravitation (1 hour)
2
2 1
r
m m
G F
g
=
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PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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7.1.1 Newtons law of gravitation
States that a magnitude of an attractive force between two
point masses is directly proportional to the product of their
masses and inversely proportional to the square of the
distance between them.
OR mathematically,
2
1
r
F
g

2 1
m m F
g
and
2
2 1
r
m m
F
g

2
2 1
r
m m
G F
g
=
force nal Gravitatio :
g
F
2 and 1 particle of masses : ,
2 1
m m
2 and 1 particle between distance : r
2 2 11
kg m N x10 6.67 Constant nal gravitatio Universal :

= G
where
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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The statement can also be shown by using the Figure 7.1.
where
2
2 1
12 21
r
m m
G F F F
g
= = =

1
m
2
m
r
12
F

Figure 7.1
21
F

12
F

## 1 particle on 2 particle by force nal Gravitatio :

21
F

Simulation 7.1
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
7
Figures 7.2a and 7.2b show the gravitational force, F
g
varies
with the distance, r.
Notes:
Every spherical object with constant density can be
reduced to a point mass at the centre of the sphere.
The gravitational forces always attractive in nature and
the forces always act along the line joining the two point
masses.
g
F
r
0
g
F
2
1
r
0
2 1
m Gm = gradient
Figure 7.2a Figure 7.2b
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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A spaceship of mass 9000 kg travels from the Earth to the Moon
along a line that passes through the Earths centre and the Moons
centre. The average distance separating Earth and the Moon is
384,000 km. Determine the distance of the spaceship from the
Earth at which the gravitational force due to the Earth twice the
magnitude of the gravitational force due to the Moon.
(Given the mass of the Earth, m
E
=6.0010
24
kg, the mass of the
Moon, m
M
=7.3510
22
kg and the universal gravitational constant,
G=6.6710
11
N m
2
kg
2
)
Example 7.1 :
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
9
Solution :
Given
kg; 10 7.35 kg; 10 6.00
22
M
24
E
= = m m
m 10 3.84 kg; 0 900
8
EM s
= = r m
E
m
M
m
s
m
x
EM
r
x r
EM
Es
F

Ms
F

Ms Es
F 2 = F
( )
2
EM
s M
2
s E
2
x r
m Gm
x
m Gm

=
( )
M
E
2
EM
2
2m
m
x r
x
=

( )
( )( )
22
24
2
8
2
10 7.35 2
10 6.00
10 3.84

=
x
x
m 10 3.32
8
= x
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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Two spheres of masses 3.2 kg and 2.5 kg respectively are fixed at
points A and B as shown in Figure 7.3. If a 50 g sphere is placed
at point C, determine
a. the resultant force acting on it.
b. the magnitude of the spheres acceleration.
(Given G = 6.6710
11
N m
2
kg
2
)
Example 7.2 :
Figure 7.3
A B
C
cm 8
kg 3.2
kg 2.5
g 50
cm 6
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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Solution :
a.
The magnitude of the forces on m
C
,
( )( )( )
( )
2
2
3 11
2
AC
C A
A
10 10
10 50 3.2 10 6.67

= =
r
m Gm
F
N 10 1.07
9
A

= F
kg 10 50 kg; .5 2 kg; 3.2
3
C B A

= = = m m m
m 10 10 m; 10 6
2
AC
2
BC

= = r r
0.6 sin =
0.8 cos =
A B
C
m 10 8
2 -

m 10 6
2

m 10 10
2

A
F

B
F

PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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Solution :
( )( )( )
( )
2
2
3 11
2
BC
C B
B
10 6
10 50 2.5 10 6.67

= =
r
m Gm
F
N 10 .32 2
9
B

= F
Force x-component (N) y-component (N)
A
F

F cos
A

F sin
A

( )( ) 0.8 10 1.07
9
=
10
10 8.56

=
( )( ) 0.6 10 1.07
9
=
10
10 6.42

=
B
F

B
F
0
9
10 2.32

=
kg 10 50 kg; .5 2 kg; 3.2
3
C B A

= = = m m m
m 10 10 m; 10 6
2
AC
2
BC

= = r r
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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Solution :
The magnitude of the nett force is
and its direction is
N 10 8.56
10
=
x
F
( ) ( )

+ =
2 2
y x
F F F
N 10 .96 2 10 .32 2 10 6.42
9 9 10
= =
y
F
( ) ( )
2
9
2
10
10 .96 2 10 8.56

+ =

= N 10 .08 3
9
F
|
|
.
|

\
|

=
|
|
.
|

\
|
=

10
9
1 1
10 .56 8
10 .96 2
tan tan
x
y
F
F

.9 73 =
(254 from +x axis anticlockwise)
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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Solution :
b. By using the Newtons second law of motion, thus
and the direction of the acceleration in the same direction of the
nett force on the m
C
i.e. 254 from +x axis anticlockwise.

= a m F
C
( )a
3 9
10 50 10 3.08

=
2 8
s m 10 .16 6

= a
3
9
10 50
10 3.08

= a
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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is defined as a region of space surrounding a body that has
the property of mass where the attractive force is
experienced if a test mass placed in the region.
Field lines are used to show gravitational field around an object
with mass.
For spherical objects (such as the Earth) the field is radial as
shown in Figure 7.4.
7.1.2 Gravitational Field
M
Figure 7.4
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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The gravitational field in small region near the Earths surface
are uniform and can be drawn parallel to each other as shown
in Figure 7.5.
The field lines indicate two things:
The arrows the direction of the field
The spacing the strength of the field
Figure 7.5
The gravitational field is a conservative field in which the work done
in moving a body from one point to another is independent of
the path taken.
Note:
New
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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Exercise 7.1 :
Given G = 6.6710
11
N m
2
kg
2
1. Four identical masses of 800 kg each are placed at the corners
of a square whose side length is 10.0 cm. Determine the nett
gravitational force on one of the masses, due to the other three.
ANS. : 8.210
3
N; 45
2. Three 5.0 kg spheres are located in the xy plane as shown in
Figure 7.6.Calculate the magnitude
of the nett gravitational force
on the sphere at the origin due to
the other two spheres.
ANS. : 2.110
8
N
Figure 7.6
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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Exercise 7.1 :
3.
In Figure 8.7, four spheres form the corners of a square
whose side is 2.0 cm long. Calculate the magnitude and
direction of the nett gravitational force on a central sphere with
mass of m
5
= 250 kg.
ANS. : 1.6810
2
N; 45
Figure 7.7
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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At the end of this chapter, students should be able to:
Define gravitational field strength as gravitational force per
unit mass,
Derive and use the equation for gravitational field strength.
Sketch a graph of a
g
against r and explain the change in a
g
with altitude and depth from the surface of the earth.
Learning Outcome:
7.1.3 Gravitational force and field strength
m
F
a
g
g
=
2
r
M
G a =
g
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PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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7.1.3 Gravitational field strength,
is defined as the gravitational force per unit mass
of a body (test mass) placed at a point.
OR
It is a vector quantity.
The S.I. unit of the gravitational field strength is N
kg
1
or m s
2
.
g
a

m
F
a
g
g

=
where
strength field nal Gravitatio :
g
a
force nal Gravitatio :
g
F
mass) (test body a of mass : m
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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It is also known as gravitational acceleration (the free-fall
acceleration).
Its direction is in the same direction of the gravitational force.
Another formula for the gravitational field strength at a point is
given by
m
F
a
g
g
=
and
2
g
r
GMm
F =
2
g
r
GM
a =
mass point and mass st between te distance : r
|
.
|

\
|
=
2
g
1
r
GMm
m
a
where
mass point the of mass : M
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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Figure 7.8 shows the direction of the gravitational field strength
on a point S at distance r from the centre of the planet.
2
r
GM
a
g
=
r
M
Figure 7.8
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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The gravitational field in the small region near the Earths
surface( r ~ R) are uniform where its strength is 9.81 m s
2
and
its direction can be shown by using the Figure 7.9.
Figure 7.9
2
R
GM
g a
g
= =
Earth the of radius : R where
2
s m 9.81 on accelerati nal gravitatio :

= g
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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Determine the Earths gravitational field strength
a. on the surface.
b. at an altitude of 350 km.
(Given G = 6.6710
11
N m
2
kg
2
, mass of the Earth,
M= 6.00 10
24
kg and radius of the Earth, R = 6.40 10
6
m)
Solution :
a.
Example 7.3 :
R
M
g a R r
g
= = = m; 10 40 . 6
6
( )
( )
2
6
24 11
2
10 40 . 6
10 00 . 6 10 67 . 6

= =

R
GM
g
The gravitational field strength is
1
kg N 77 . 9

= g OR
2
s m 77 . 9

r
g

## (Towards the centre of the Earth)

PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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Solution :
b.
2
g
r
GM
a =
( )
( )
2
6
24 11
10 75 . 6
10 6.00 10 67 . 6

=

2
g
s m 78 . 8

= a
(Towards the centre of the Earth)
R M
h R r + =
3 6
10 350 10 40 . 6 + =
m 10 75 . 6
6
= r
g
a

h
r
The gravitational field strength is given by
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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The gravitational field strength on the Earths surface is 9.81 N kg
1
.
Calculate
a. the gravitational field strength at a point C at distance 1.5R from
the Earths surface where R is the radius of the Earth.
b. the weight of a rock of mass 2.5 kg at point C.
Solution :
a. The gravitational field strength on the Earths surface is
The distance of point C from the Earths centre is
Example 7.4 :
1
kg N 81 . 9

= g
1
2
kg N 81 . 9

= =
R
GM
g
R R R r 5 . 2 5 . 1 = + =
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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Solution :
a. Thus the gravitational field strength at point C is given by
b. Given
The weight of the rock is
N 93 . 3 = W
2
C
r
GM
a
g
=
( )
2
5 . 2 R
GM
a
g
=
|
.
|

\
|
=
2
25 . 6
1
R
GM
g
ma W =
kg 5 . 2 = m
( )( ) 57 . 1 5 . 2 =
( )
1
kg N 57 . 1 81 . 9
25 . 6
1

= =
g
a
(Towards the centre of the Earth)
(Towards the centre of the Earth)
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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Figure 8.10 shows an object A at a distance of 5 km from the object
B. The mass A is four times of the mass B. Determine the location
of a point on the line joining both objects from B at which the nett
gravitational field strength is zero.
Example 7.5 :
A
B
km 5
Figure 7.10
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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Solution :
At point C,
B A
3
4 m; 10 5 M M r = =
( ) 0
nett
=
g
a
( )
2
B
2
3
B
10 5
4
x
M
x
M
=

m 10 .67 1
3
= x
r
A
B
C
x r x
2 g
a

1 g
a

2 1 g g
a a =
( )
2
B
2
A
x
GM
x r
GM
=

PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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Outside the Earth ( r > R)
Figure 8.11 shows a test mass which is outside the Earth and at
a distance r from the centre.
The gravitational field strength outside the Earth is
7.1.4 Variation of gravitational field strength on the
distance from the centre of the Earth
R
r
M
Figure 8.11
2
g
r
GM
a =
2
g
1
r
a
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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On the Earth ( r = R)
Figure 7.12 shows a test mass on the Earths surface.
The gravitational field strength on the Earths surface is
R
r
M
Figure 7.12
2
2
g
s m 81 . 9

= = = g
R
GM
a
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
32
R
r
M
' M
Inside the Earth ( r < R)
Figure 7.13 shows a test mass which is inside the Earth and at
distance r from the centre.
The gravitational field strength inside the Earth is given by
Figure 7.13
2
g
'
r
GM
a =
where
portion spherical of mass the : ' M
radius, of Earth the of r
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
33
By assuming the Earth is a solid sphere and constant
density, hence
Therefore the gravitational field strength inside the Earth is
V
V
M
M

' '
=
( )
( )
3
3
3
3
4
3
3
4
'
R
r
R
r
M
M
= =
t
t
M
R
r
M
3
3
' =
2
3
3
g
r
M
R
r
G
a
|
|
.
|

\
|
=
r
R
GM
a
3
g
= r a
g
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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The variation of gravitational field strength, a
g
as a function of
distance from the centre of the Earth, r is shown in Figure 7.14.
Figure 7.14
R
g
a
r
0
R
g
R
GM
a = =
2
g
r a
g
2
g
1
r
a
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
35
At the end of this chapter, students should be able to:
Define gravitational potential in a gravitational field.
Derive and use the formulae,
Sketch the variation of gravitational potential, V with
distance, r from the centre of the earth.
Learning Outcome:
7.2 Gravitational potential ( hour)
r
GM
V =
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PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
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7.2 Gravitational potential
7.2.1 Work done by the external force
Consider an external force, F
is required to bring a test
mass, m from r
1
to r
2
,
as shown in Figure 7.18.
At the distance r
2
from the
centre of the Earth,
The work done by the
external force through
the small displacement
dr is
m
M
1
r
2
r
F

g
F

dr
Figure 7.18
g
F F =

0 cos Fdr dW =
dr F dW
g
=
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
37
Therefore the work done by the external force to bring test
mass, m from r
1
to r
2
is
} }
=
2
1
r
r
g
dr F dW
}
=
2
1
2
r
r
dr
r
GMm
W
2
r
GMm
F
g
=
and
2
1
1
r
r
r
GMm W
(

=
}
=
2
1
2
1
r
r
dr
r
GMm W
|
|
.
|

\
|
=

2 1
1 1
2 1
r r
GMm W
r r
where
distance final :
2
r
distance initial :
1
r
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
38
at a point is defined as the work done by an external force in
bringing a test mass from infinity to a point per unit the
test mass.
OR mathematically, V is written as:
It is a scalar quantity.
Its dimension is given by
7.2.2 Gravitational potential, V

m
W
V =
where
mass test the of mass : m
point a at potential nal gravitatio : V
mass test a bringing in done work : W
point a o infinity t from
| |
| |
| | m
W
V = | |
M
T ML
2 2
= V
| |
2 2
T L

= V
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
39
The S.I unit for gravitational potential is m
2
s
2
or J kg
1
.
Another formula for the gravitational potential at a point is given
by
|
|
.
|

\
|
=
2 1
1 1
r r m
GMm
V

m
W
V =
and
|
|
.
|

\
|
=
2 1
1 1
r r
GMm W
where
=
1
r
and
r r =
2
|
.
|

\
|

=
r m
GMm
V
1 1
r
GM
V =
where
point e between th distance : r
M mass, point the and
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
40
The gravitational potential difference between point A and B
(V
AB
) in the Earths gravitational field is defined as the work
done in bringing a test mass from point B to point A per
unit the test mass.
OR mathematically, V
AB
is written as:
B A
BA
AB
-V V
m
W
V = =
where
A. point to B point from
mass test the bringing in done work :
BA
W
A point at potential nal gravitatio :
A
V
B point at potential nal gravitatio :
B
V
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
41
Figure 7.19 shows two points A and B at a distance r
A
and r
B
from the centre of the Earth respectively in the Earths
gravitational field.
M
A
B
r
A
r
B
Figure 7.19
The gravitational potential
difference between the points A
and B is given by
B A AB
V V V =
|
|
.
|

\
|

|
|
.
|

\
|
=
B A
AB
r
GM
r
GM
V
|
|
.
|

\
|
=
A B
AB
1 1
r r
GM V
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
42
The gravitational potential difference between point B and A in
the Earths gravitational field is given by
The variation of gravitational potential, V when the test mass, m
move away from the Earths surface is illustrated by the graph
in Figure 7.20.
m
W
V V V
AB
A B BA
= =
R
R
GM

r
0
V
r
V
1

Note:
The Gravitational potential at infinity
is zero.
0 =

V
Figure 7.20
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
43
When in orbit, a satellite attracts the Earth with a force of 19 kN
and the satellites gravitational potential due to the Earth is
5.4510
7
J kg
1
.
a. Calculate the satellites distance from the Earths surface.
b. Determine the satellites mass.
(Given G = 6.6710
11
N m
2
kg
2
, mass of the Earth,
M= 5.9810
24
kg and radius of the Earth , R = 6.3810
6
m)
Solution :
Example 7.7 :
R
g
F

r
h
1 7 3
kg J 10 45 5 N; 10 19

= = . V F
g
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
44
Solution :
a. By using the formulae of gravitational potential, thus
Therefore the satellites distance from the Earths surface is
r
GM
V =
m 10 32 . 7
6
= r
6 6
10 38 . 6 10 32 . 7 + = h
m 10 4 . 9
5
= h
( )( )
r
. .
24 11
7
10 98 5 10 67 6
10 45 . 5

=

R h r + =
1 7 3
kg J 10 45 5 N; 10 19

= = . V F
g
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
45
Solution :
b. From the Newtons law of gravitation, hence
2
r
GMm
F
g
=
kg 2552 = m
( )( )
( )
2
6
24 11
3
10 32 7
10 98 5 10 67 6
10 19

=

.
m . .
1 7 3
kg J 10 45 5 N; 10 19

= = . V F
g
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
46
At the end of this chapter, students should be able to:
Explain satellite motion with:
velocity,
period,
Learning Outcome:
7.3 Satellite motion in a circular orbit ( hour)
r
GM
v =
GM
r
T
3
2t =
w
w
w
.
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m
s
.
m
a
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r
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s
i
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s
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
47
7.3 Satellite motion in a circular orbit
7.3.1 Tangential (linear/orbital) velocity, v
Consider a satellite of mass, m travelling around the Earth of
mass, M, radius, R, in a circular orbit of radius, r with constant
tangential (orbital) speed, v as shown in Figure 7.22.
Figure 7.22
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
48
The centripetal force, F
c
is contributed by the gravitational force
of attraction, F
g
exerted on the satellite by the Earth.
Hence the tangential velocity, vis given by
c c g
ma F F = =
r
mv
r
GMm
2
2
=
r
GM
v =
where
Earth the of mass : M
from satellite the of distance : r
Earth the of centre the
constant nal gravitatio universal : G
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
49
For a satellite close to the Earths surface,
Therefore
The relationship between tangential velocity and angular
velocity is
Hence , the period, T of the satellite orbits around the Earth is
given by
R r ~
and
2
gR GM =
gR v =
T
r
r v
t
e
2
= =
r
GM
T
r 2
=
t
GM
r
T
3
2t =
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
50
Figure 8.23 shows a synchronous (geostationary) satellite which
stays above the same point on the equator of the Earth.
The satellite have the following characteristics:
It revolves in the same direction as the Earth.
It rotates with the same period of rotation as that of the Earth
(24 hours).
It moves directly above the equator.
The centre of a synchronous satellite orbit is at the centre of
the Earth.
It is used as a communication satellite.
7.3.2 Synchronous (Geostationary) Satellite
Figure 8.23
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
51
The weight of a satellite in a circular orbit round the Earth is half of
its weight on the surface of the Earth. If the mass of the satellite is
800 kg, determine
a. the altitude of the satellite,
b. the speed of the satellite in the orbit,
(Given G = 6.6710
11
N m
2
kg
2
, mass of the Earth,
M= 6.0010
24
kg, and radius of the Earth , R = 6.4010
6
m)
Example 7.12 :
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
52
Solution :
a. The satellite orbits the Earth in the circular path, thus
b. The speed of the satellite is given by
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
53
The radius of the Moons orbit around the Earth is 3.8 10
8
m and
the period of the orbit is 27.3 days. The masses of the Earth and
Moon are 6.0 10
24
kg and 7.4 10
22
kg respectively. Calculate
the total energy of the Moon in the orbit.
Solution :
The period of the satellite is
The tangential speed of the satellite is
Example 7.13 :
s m 50 . 9 kg; 120 m; 10 50 . 8
2 6
= = = g m r
T
r
v
t 2
=
1 3
s m 10 24 . 4

= v
( )( ) 3600 5 . 3 = T
s 12600 = T
( )
12600
10 50 . 8 2
6

=
t
v
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
54
Solution :
A satellite orbits the planet in the circular path, thus
c g
F F =

2
2
r
mv
r
GMm
=
s m 50 . 9 kg; 120 m; 10 50 . 8
2 6
= = = g m r
r
GM
v =
2
and
2
gR GM =
r
gR
v
2
2
=
( )
6
2
2
3
10 50 . 8
50 . 9
10 24 . 4

=
R
m 10 01 . 4
6
= R
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
55
Exercise 7.2 :
Given G = 6.6710
11
N m
2
kg
2
1. A rocket is launched vertically from the surface of the Earth
at speed 25 km s
-1
. Determine its speed when it escapes from
the gravitational field of the Earth.
(Given g on the Earth = 9.81 m s
2
, radius of the Earth ,
R = 6.38 10
6
m)
ANS. : 2.2410
4
m s
1
2. A satellite revolves round the Earth in a circular orbit whose
radius is five times that of the radius of the Earth. The
gravitational field strength at the surface of the Earth is
9.81 N kg
1
. Determine
a. the tangential speed of the satellite in the orbit,
b. the angular frequency of the satellite.
(Given radius of the Earth , R = 6.38 10
6
m)
ANS. : 3538 m s
1
; 1.1110
4
rad s
1
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
56
Exercise 7.2 :
3. A geostationary satellite of mass 2400 kg is placed
35.92 Mm from the Earths surface orbits the Earth along a
circular path.
Determine
a. the angular velocity of the satellite,
b. the tangential speed of the satellite,
c. the acceleration of the satellite,
d. the force of attraction between the Earth and the satellite,
e. the mass of the Earth.
(Given radius of the Earth , R = 6.38 10
6
m)
ANS. : 7.2710
5
rad s
1
; 3.0810
3
m s
1
; 0.224 m s
2
;
537 N ; 6.0010
24
kg
PHYSICS CHAPTER 7
57
THE END
Next Chapter
CHAPTER 8 :
Simple Harmonic Motion
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