Problem: Consider a system consisting of two oppositely charged spheres hanging by strings and separated by a distance r1, as shown in the accompanying illustration. Suppose they are separated to a larger distance r2, by moving them apart along a track.What change, if any, has occurred in the potential energy of the system?        

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Consider a system consisting of two oppositely charged spheres hanging by strings and separated by a distance r1, as shown in the accompanying illustration. Suppose they are separated to a larger distance r2, by moving them apart along a track.

Two oppositely-charged particles are hanging by strings.  In the first diagram, the particles are pulled toward each other, separated by distance r1.  In the second diagram, they hang straight down, separated by the larger distance r2.

What change, if any, has occurred in the potential energy of the system?        

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Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor Kornienko's class at RUTGERS.