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A child rides on a Ferris Wheel at the State Fair.
The seat always faces to the right. There are three forces that act on the child,the child’s weight, W, the normal force of the seat,N, and the force of friction between the child and the seat, f.

At which listed location(s) does the gravitational force, W, contribute to the centripetal
force on the child and not oppose it?
a. top
b. Mid way on right side
c. bottom
d. top and bottom

My answer: a

At which position(s) will the magnitude of the normal force, N, be the greatest?
a. top
b. midway to the right
c. bottom
d. midway to the left
e. It is the same at all the listed locations.

My answer: C

If friction were very small and there is no grab bar across the seat, where would the child be in the greatest danger?
a. top
b. midway far right
c. bottom
d. midway far left
e. The danger is the same everywhere.

My answer: e
Are this assumptions correct??

  • Physics -

    Your first two answers are correct. The last one is not. With the child always facing right, seat cushion friction or a grab bar will have to provide a centripetal force to the left to keep the child accelerating toward the center. Without that force, the child will slide out of the seat. The answer is b.

    One might also conclude that the top position is the least safe because the child has the greatest distance to fall, but that will not happen unless the child is crawling about

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