Classical Particle in a Coulomb-Like Radial Potential

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This Demonstration shows the negative energy trajectories of a point mass moving in the radially symmetric potential . Due to the radial symmetry the point mass moves in a two-dimensional plane perpendicular to the angular momentum vector.


The case of corresponds to the Coulomb potential, where negative energy trajectories are periodic. For , all the negative energy trajectories go through the origin.


Contributed by: Oleksandr Pavlyk (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



All physical values displayed have been made to be dimensionless.

The initial velocity of the moving point mass is perpendicular to the radius.

Newton's equations of motion in polar coordinates read:

and ,

where is the angular momentum.

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