Racing balls

Applet by Fu-Kwun Hwang

What will happen when the two balls are launched from one end of the track with the same initial velocity?:

1) Will ball #1 on the straight track arrive at the other end first?
2) Will ball #2 on the track with the dip arrive at the other end first?
3) Will the race be a tie? - both balls reach the other end at the same time?

This is a java version of one of our physics demonstrations.
Think about it, and select the answer to active the program.
...Did you get the correct answer?
Press the start button to restart.

1. Clicking on the left button within the window will suspend the animation (click it again to resume).
2. Click the right mouse button and drag it up and down in order to change the shape of the lower track.
3. Click the more information checkbox in order to display more information
4. Shape of the track (from left to right):

section 1 red curve: one quarter of a circle
tangential component of the gravitation field is the source of the acceleration.
section 2 blue curve: Trajectory for a projectile (with initial velocity when it entering this region)
So, thehorizontal component of the velocity is a constant.
section 3 red curve: part of a circle.
The slope for the curves match at the boundary. The particle will accelerate (as with section 1) but with different acceleration.
section 4 blue curve: Trajectory for projectile similar similar to section 2
section 5 green line: horizontal line.
The velocity is a constant in this region.

The horizontal component of the velocities are also shown.