Department of Physics Papers

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Journal Article

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A well studied problem in elementary mechanics is the location of the release point of a particle that slides on the surface of a frictionless sphere when it is released from rest at the top. We generalize this problem to include the effects of sliding friction and solve it by a perturbation expansion in the coefficient of sliding friction and by an exact integration of the equation of motion. A comparison of the two solutions identifies a parameter range where the perturbation series accurately represents the motion of the particle and another range where the perturbative solution fails qualitatively to describe the motion of the particle.


Suggested Citation:
T. Prior and E.J. Mele. (2006). A block slipping on a sphere with friction: Exact and perturbative solutions. American Journal of Physics. 75 (5) p. 423 - 426.

Copyright 2007 American Association of Physics Teachers. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Association of Physics Teachers.

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Physics Commons



Date Posted: 12 May 2011

This document has been peer reviewed.