Physics midterm problem: world-record washing machine throw

Physics 205A Midterm 1, fall semester 2017
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

"Washing Machine Throwing Showdown"
Guinness World Records

In 2017, Zydrunas Savickas set a world record throwing a 46 kg (101 lb) washing machine that landed a horizontal distance of 4.13 m from its starting position atop his head. Savickas' height is 1.91 m, and the washing machine was airborne for 1.84 s starting from just off the top of his head to just before hitting the ground[*].

Find both the horizontal and vertical components (v0x, v0y) of the initial velocity vector for the washing machine, as it was thrown and released from just above the top of Savickas' head. Neglect air resistance, and treat the washing machine as a point object. Show your work and explain your reasoning using properties of projectile motion.

[*] Rachel Swatman, "Watch Game of Thrones Star Take on World’s Strongest Man Winner in Washing Machine Throwing Showdown" (January 13, 2017), guinnessworldrecords.com/news/2017/1/watch-game-of-thrones-star-take-on-world%E2%80%99s-strongest-man-winner-in-washing-machi-458290.

Solution and grading rubric:
  • p:
    Correct. Discusses/demonstrates:
    1. uses given values of t = 1.84 s and x = +4.13 m to solve for the initial (and constant) horizontal velocity v0x (where t0 = 0, x0 = 0); and
    2. uses given values of t = 1.84 s and y = −1.91 m to solve for the initial vertical velocity v0y (where t0 = 0, y0 = 0).
  • r:
    Nearly correct, but includes minor math errors. May have intentionally or unintentionally used y = +1.91 m or y = 0 instead of y = −1.91 m.
  • t:
    Nearly correct, but approach has conceptual errors, and/or major/compounded math errors. At least has one initial velocity component correct, but other component has errors in addition to those listed in (r), such as setting vy = 0 in y = (1/2)⋅(vy0 + vy)⋅t to solve for vy0, or setting vx = 0 in x = (1/2)⋅(v0x + vx)⋅t to solve for vx0, etc.
  • v:
    Implementation of right ideas, but in an inconsistent, incomplete, or unorganized manner.
  • x:
    Implementation of ideas, but credit given for effort rather than merit.
  • y:
    Irrelevant discussion/effectively blank.
  • z:
Grading distribution:
Sections 70854, 70855
Exam code: midterm01mOoL
p: 20 students
r: 16 students
t: 12 students
v: 3 students
x: 1 student
y: 0 students
z: 0 students

A sample "p" response (from student 1956):

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