PhysicsLAB AP Free Response Question
2000 C2

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A rubber ball of mass m is dropped from a cliff. As the ball falls, it is subject to air drag (a resistive force caused by the air). The drag force on the ball has magnitude bv2, where b is a constant drag coefficient and v is the instantaneous speed of the ball. The drag coefficient b is directly proportional to the cross sectional area of the ball and the density of the air and does not depend on the mass of the ball. As the ball falls, its speed approaches a constant value called the terminal speed.
(a) On the figure below, draw and label all the forces on the ball at some instant before it reaches terminal speed

 (b) State whether the magnitude of the acceleration of the ball of mass m increases, decreases, or remains the same as the ball approaches terminal speed. Explain.

 (c) Write, but do NOT solve, a differential equation for the instantaneous speed v of the ball in terms of time t, the given quantities, and fundamental constants.

 (d) Determine the terminal speed vt in terms of the given quantities and fundamental constants.

 (e) Determine the energy dissipated by the drag force during the fall if the ball is released at height h and reaches its terminal speed before hitting the ground, in terms of the given quantities and fundamental constants.

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