Fastest Descent with Two Line Segments

If you are travelling between two points under gravity, and want to go as fast as possible, what path should you travel on? This applet helps you to investigate the situation where your path is made up of [b]two line segments[/b]. There is also a version with five line segments, if you want to try more complicated looking paths: [url][/url] [b]Note:[/b] In the continuous case, the curve of fastest descent is called the brachistochrone, and deriving it requires some advanced calculus. The two-straight lines case, on the other hand, can form the basis of a quite nice 'experimental' investigation without the need for calculus.


Jon Ingram

Resource Type
inclined  line-segment  math  mathematics  mechanics  planes 
Target Group (Age)
15 – 18
English (United Kingdom)
GeoGebra version
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