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Posted by on Friday, July 13, 2012 at 10:53am.

Suppose the slope of a beach underneath the ocean is 20 cm of dropoff for every 1.6 m of horizontal distance. A wave is moving inland, slowing down as it enters shallower water. What is its acceleration when it is 12 m from the shoreline? (Let the +x direction be towards the shoreline. Indicate the direction with the sign of your answer.)

The answer is supposed to be -0.613m/s^2. I'm stumped on how to get this answer. I figured out that the total distance downward the beach goes at 12 m to be 1.5 m. However, I'm not sure if that's useful or not. Any help is appreciated.

  • Physics - , Friday, July 13, 2012 at 11:43am

    The speed of a shallow wave is
    v = sqrt(g h) where h is the water depth. The acceleration is thus:

    a = dv/dt = 1/2 sqrt(g/h) dh/dt =

    1/2 sqrt(g/h) dh/dt =

    1/2 sqrt(g/h) dh/dx dx/dt =

    1/2 sqrt(g/h) dh/dx v =

    g/2 dh/dx =

    9.81/2 m/s^2 (-0.2 m/1.6 m) =

    -0.613 m/s^2

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