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Math Help - Solution to a distance travelled problem

  1. #1
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    Solution to a distance travelled problem

    I have the following question in an assignment,

    A particle moves along a straight line so that at time t seconds its velocity, is given by

    v=\frac{t+1}{t^2+1}

    Find the distance travelled in the first second.


    Solving the equation, I got a general solution to the differential equation as:

    s(t)=\frac{1}{2} ln(t^2+1) + tan^{-1} t + C

    Is it correct to assume that the initial condition would be s=0 at t=0?

    I went on to solve the problem as s = 1.132m.

    Can anyone check this for me and show me where I went wrong if there is a problem?
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  2. #2
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    Re: Solution to a distance travelled problem

    Quote Originally Posted by tammyl View Post
    I have the following question in an assignment,

    A particle moves along a straight line so that at time t seconds its velocity, is given by

    v=\frac{t+1}{t^2+1}

    Find the distance travelled in the first second.


    Solving the equation, I got a general solution to the differential equation as:

    s(t)=\frac{1}{2} ln(t^2+1) + tan^{-1} t + C

    Is it correct to assume that the initial condition would be s=0 at t=0?

    I went on to solve the problem as s = 1.132m.

    Can anyone check this for me and show me where I went wrong if there is a problem?
    That's the answer. As to s = 0 where t = 0 you are looking for how far it went. So if you don't choose s = 0 then you have to subtract the value to get rid of the extra difference. (If s = 1, t = 1 gives the distance as 2.132 m, and to get the actual distance traveled you need to do \Delta s - 1 = 1.132.)

    -Dan
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  3. #3
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    Re: Solution to a distance travelled problem

    You can certainly assume that the "first second" is from t=0 to t= 1. You do NOT have to assume that s(0)= 0 since s(0)= C will give the same answer for any C.
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