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A Ballistics Problem

1. During World War II, mathematicians were asked to construct tables for gunners
relating angle to range. Bombardiers required similar information. How was this
done?
We wish to construct a model of the motion of an object under the influence of
gravity and air resistance. We ignore the complications due to lifting forces and
possible rotation of the object. Hence the only forces involved are a downward
force of mg and a drag force opposite the direction of motion of mf(v), where m is
the mass of the object, v = |v| is the magnitude of its velocity, and g is the
acceleration due to gravity.
(a) Consider the diagram for the portion of trajectory below. Convince yourself that
the horizontal angle for velocity vector and the angle between gravitational
acceleration and a perpendicular to velocity vector are equal.

(b) Decompose acceleration vector g into two components: component g|| parallel to
v and component g perpendicular to v.

(c) Decompose v into horizontal and vertical components using the fact that
magnitude of v is v: |v| = v.

(d) Differentiate v with respect to time. (Hint: Use expression for horizontal and
vertical components above to carry out differentiation. Dont forget to use Chain
rule).

(e) Consider a small change in magnitude of v: v. Express legs of the right triangle
below in terms of v and . Divide both sides of each equation by t and take a
limit as t approaches 0.

(f)

dv
dt

above corresponds to the component of acceleration parallel to the velocity

vector. Compare this to derivative of v above.

(g) Consider the small change in angle : . Use the diagram below to express the
perpendicular component of change in velocity vector: v using v and . Divide
both sides of each equation by t and take a limit as t approaches 0.

(h)

dv
dt

above corresponds to the component of acceleration perpendicular to the

velocity vector. Compare this to derivative of v above.

(i) Resolving the acceleration due to gravity into components parallel and
perpendicular to v and using the fact that drag acts parallel to v, we obtain the
following system of equations:
v = g sin() f(v)
v = g cos()
Explain where the system came from.
(j) Multiply equation v = g sin() f(v) by vgcos(), divide by the second equation
v = g cos(), and rearrange to get

g( cos )

= vf(v).

(k) Let f(v) = kv2 and label cos = (i.e. the horizontal component of velocity
vector). Separate the variables to get

g
v 3x

dvx =

cos 3 () d.

(l) Antidifferentiating the left side of the equation above is easy (Do it!). Consider
now

1
cos 3 ()

d =

cos3 ()d. Use integration by parts to antidifferentiate

cos 3 ()d.

(m) Knowing the initial condition, we can calculate the constant of integration and
find expression for vx. For example, in case of bombardier initial condition would
be 0 = 0 and v = (v0, 0). We will not bother doing this here, but it should be
obvious that vx() can be found from above. Express vy vertical projection of v in
terms of vx and .
(n) Find expressions for

dx
d

and

dy
d

in terms of vx and vy respectively.

(o) Express parametric coordinates [x(), y()] of the projectile by integrating


dy
d

dx
d

and

between initial angle 0 and final angle *.

(p) Assume flat terrain. What is the terminal value of y, that is y(*)?

(q) Describe what calculations you need to make in order to figure out when to drop
the bomb from the bombardier