Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It's 100% free, no registration required.

The equations of motion of a Foucault pendulum is given by:

$$\ddot{x} = 2\omega \sin\lambda \dot{y} - \frac{g}{L}x$$ $$\ddot{y} = -2\omega \sin\lambda \dot{x} - \frac{g}{L}y$$

where $\omega$ is the rotational frequency of the earth which has a value of $7.27 x 10^-5$, $\lambda$ is the latitude of where the pendulum is, $g$ is the acceleration due to gravity, $L$ is the length of the pendulum's string. What I don't know is what does $x$ and $y$ represent? I have read some derivations of these equations but I really cant figure out what they are trying to say.

share|improve this question
    
Possible duplicate: physics.stackexchange.com/q/55650/2451 –  Qmechanic Mar 9 '13 at 8:00

1 Answer 1

The $x$ represents the x-coordinate of the pendulum.

The $y$ represents the y-coordinate of the pendulum.

$x$ and $y$ are perpindicular to each other, but parallel to the Earth's surface. $z$, not mentioned in these equations is height.

share|improve this answer
    
So it represents the position of the bob? –  user61835 Mar 9 '13 at 5:40
    
Yes, that's right. –  Mew Mar 9 '13 at 5:43
    
Might as well ask this, do you have any idea how to simulate a foucault pendulum in matlab? –  user61835 Mar 9 '13 at 5:45
    
@user61835 mathworks.com.au/help/simulink/examples/… <- explains how to model it in matlab. –  Mew Mar 9 '13 at 5:59

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.