Path Coordinates


Here, we work on solving dynamics problems using path coordinates. Sometimes path coordinates are called normal & tangential coordinates because we choose basis vectors normal and tangential to the path.

Table of Links

Video: Expressing Acceleration in Path Coordinates

Here, we partially derive an expression for acceleration in path coordinates. Before watching the video, you may want to refer back to previous videos on acceleration here.

Video: The Mythical Centrifugal Force

In this video, we use path coordinates to discuss a fictitious force that some people call the centrifugal force.

The “Wall of Death”

Check out the video below and then work through the problem that follows:


pdflogoA written solution is provided here. A video solution is provided below.

Skate Park Loop Dynamics

Consider the following problem:


Here’s the solution:

FYI: Here is a link to a dreadful explanation of how a roller coaster loop works. If you click on the link to the author’s bio, you see why.  He has a B.A. in English, with no apparent training in physics, mathematics, or engineering.

Dynamics of the Snowboard Halfpipe

Consider the following problem:


pdflogoA written solution is provided here.

A related video from the 2014 Winter Olympics coverage is embedded below. See if you can find the SpuCraft in the background.