physics

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Traffic shock wave. An abrupt slowdown in concentrated traffic can travel as a pulse, termed a shock wave, along the line of cars, either downstream (in the traffic direction) or upstream, or it can be stationary. Figure 2-22


shows a uniformly spaced line of cars moving at speed v = 25.0 m/s toward a uniformly spaced line of slow cars moving at speed vs = 5.20 m/s. Assume that each faster car adds length L = 14.0 m (car length plus buffer zone) to the line of slow cars when it joins the line, and assume it slows abruptly at the last instant. (a) For what separation distance d between the faster cars does the shock wave remain stationary? If the separation is twice that amount, what are the (b) speed and (c) direction (upstream denote 1 and downstream denote 0) of the shock wave?

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