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A system consists of three particles, each of mass 2.10 g, located at the corners of an equilateral triangle with sides of 22.0 cm.
Calculate the potential energy of the system.

Please help me what formula to use please

  • physics -

    Relative to a situation where the masses are widely separated, the potential energy of the equilateral configuration will be negative. That is because it will require work to separate them.

    A single mass m has no potential associated with it.

    When you add a second mass m at distance a, there will potential anergy equal to

    -G m^2/a

    When you bring in a third mass m at distance a from both, you add potential energy equal to -2G m^2/a

    The total potential energy is therefore
    -3G m^2/a

    G is the universal constant of gravity, m = 0.0021 kg and a = 0.22 m

    Expect a very small number.

  • physics -

    The constant G can be found at

  • physics -

    Thank you very much sir!

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