Getting on the move.

Mr. Zeisler is heading out for a weekend camping trip with his family, and is stopped at a stop sign. He needs his pop-up camper to accelerate with his truck. Help him out it by giving the trailer the correct equation of motion.

  1. Measure the position of the red truck at t=0 and a later time. Use the position of the front tire as the position of the truck. Given that the initial velocity is zero, calculate the acceleration of the truck.
  2. Measure how far behind the truck the trailer is at time = 0.
  3. Using the equation of motion for the truck and the trailer, write the equation of motion for the trailer in the box below. Your equation will look something the one below, except x and a will be replaced by numbers. (Since this is a function of time, "t" must appear in the expression.)
    x + 0.5*a*t*t
    Then click on the button to make the trailer follow your equation of motion. If the two vehicals do not move together so that the hookups match exactly, check you calculations.

Exercise created by Scott Bonham, Western Kentucky University.
Physlet by Wolfgang Christian, Davidson College