Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Circular Motion Reflection

What I learned about uniform circular motion is that it is the motion of an object in a circle with a constant speed. Even though the object has a constant speed that doesn't mean the object isn't accelerating. Because the object would be changing direction, it would have an acceleration as well. This acceleration is called the centripetal acceleration. Probably the most important thing I learned about circular motion is the centripetal force. This is the inward force that must be applied to an object to keep it moving in a circle. Before this unit, I would get off a roller coaster at Six Flags and say, "man, could you feel that centrifugal force?" Now I know better and have learned that the inward force keeping me in my seat was actually the centripetal force.

What I found most difficult about what I have studied was deciding which equation to use. Given that the variables in the three equations were so similar, I had a hard time making sure I was using the correct equation. But of course, with practice I improved at this and now know the differences with each equation. For instance, I should only use the equation v = 2(pi)r/T when I can figure out the period. Even though some parts of this unit were hard I tried my best to figure them out.

My problem solving skills after learning about circular motion have improved because I have learned how to deal with problems that I can't get at first. Some problems that I have come across involving circular motion to me seemed to be too difficult. However, once I challenged myself to take on these kinds of problems I sometimes got the correct answer which helped my problem solving skills by getting me used to harder problems.

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