reduced mass

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#1
this is perhaps the only part of my mechanics course so far that i'm having trouble getting to grips with, the reduced mass of a system. What does it do and what does it mean?
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18 years ago
#2
Times must be hard when an Oxford Physics student asks an internet forum of mainly sixth-formers for help on mechanics...
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#3
(Original post by ZJuwelH)
Times must be hard when an Oxford Physics student asks an internet forum of mainly sixth-formers for help on mechanics...
i know what it is and how to use it, i just havent grasped the concept and what it is
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18 years ago
#4
(Original post by elpaw)
i know what it is .....i just havent grasped the concept and what it is
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18 years ago
#5
Try telling us what you know, then someone can fill the holes. If any one on here can.
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18 years ago
#6
Do you mean the concept of mass as opposed to weight...
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#7
the reduced mass mu is m1m2/(m1+m2). it is used in solving 2 body problems (like orbits)
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18 years ago
#8
You use the reduced mass to model one particle as stationary and the other as moving. For example in the case of the oscillation in a hydrogen chloride molecule, they would both be vibrating as if there was a spring connecting them. Because the mass of the chlorine M is so much larger, this can be modelled as being stationary with another mass mu oscillating on it, where mu is the reduced mass.

Obviously, given the expression for reduced mass, the greater the difference in mass between the atoms, the more accurate using the reduced mass will be.

That's not written very well but I'm in a rush.
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18 years ago
#9
(Original post by ZJuwelH)
Do you mean the concept of mass as opposed to weight...
Of course he knows the difference between mass and weight. Don't think so little of him .
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18 years ago
#10
This ought to help:

Reduced Mass Help
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#11
(Original post by chrisbphd)
This ought to help:

Reduced Mass Help
hey thanks, thats cleared up some of my worries. next up on the agenda: world peace.
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18 years ago
#12
(Original post by chrisbphd)
This ought to help:

Reduced Mass Help

<impressed by the level of help!>
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