So I was reading in Chapter 3 of my textbook, Sears & Zemanksky's University Physics with Modern Physics by Young and Freedman, 13th Edition, and the discussion took us to a definition of the acceleration vector.
(Please note that all pictures - which aren't obviously hand-drawn with with a pencil - do originate from this text.)
Not so hard to swallow.
But, one of the questions has me stumped - at least a little. Let's say we have sled sliding over perfectly flat terrain on perfectly super-slippery friction-less ice. Ignore air resistance - (the sled won't have much anyway, of course.) However, respect gravity. I know that this sled will have a 0-vector for acceleration when it is traveling along a perfectly flat surface, because there are no external forces acting on the sled other than the normal force! (3rd sled From right)
But in my physics book, we have this image, and by my 8th grade science teacher's Beard, the trough is fairly analogous to the crest. And here, we have a trough... and it's a trough with an acceleration vector on a similarly behaving object.
This suggests that the answer to the question using the diagram below - which vector is the acceleration vector? - is number 7 - despite the fact it seems as if normally there would be no acceleration there since the point of the crest qualifies as flat.
First off, which vector in the above image (1-8, or 9 for zero vector) describes the acceleration vector of the sled going over that crest?
Now let's say I know how to program my computer with 2D graphics. If I were to animate that sled going over the crest as shown in the book with the acceleration vector at every point right next to it, but the crest then becomes flattened as in my hand-drawn image what would the vectors look like?
If the vector is zero, why does the skier in the trough have an acceleration vector? If it is not zero, at what point in my animation does the acceleration vector magically disappear? Does it so disappear?
If I were to make the similar animation for the skier going down the hill, would there be any differences in the acceleration vector, other than the obvious mirroring?