ERIC Number: EJ896416
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jul
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 3
Crossing a River in a Canoe--How Complicated Can It Get?
O'Shea, M. J.
European Journal of Physics, v31 n4 p857-862 Jul 2010
We consider several strategies a paddler may use when paddling a canoe across a flowing river. In particular we look at the case where the paddler keeps their canoe pointed at their chosen destination on the opposite bank of the river. In combination with the downstream flow, the canoe follows a curved path whose shape is determined by a first-order nonlinear differential equation. We determine the canoe path for several uniform and non-uniform flow situations. For the special case where the flow is uniform and the canoe speed and river speed are equal, the canoe path is a segment of a parabola but the canoe does not reach the opposite bank in a finite time. For nearly all non-uniform water flow profiles that can be expressed analytically it is possible to determine an analytical form for the canoe path. The inverse problem of determining the water flow profile required for a particular canoe path may be solved relatively straightforwardly. Finally, if the water flow is uniform, the problem may be transformed to a predator-prey pursuit problem. (Contains 2 footnotes, 1 table, and 4 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A