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DanMarotta Platinum 633 posts since
May 3, 2010
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Apr 12, 2011 1:14 PM

PlanetPTC Virtual - Mathcad Challenge

Thursday, April 14, 2011 @ 1PM EST is the PlanetPTC Virtual - Mathcad event. Registration is open >>


During this virtual event:

  • Get a sneak peek of Mathcad Prime 2.0
  • Learn the Mathcad product strategy and Prime 2.0 product development goals
  • See the power of Mathcad Prime 1.0 in a Tips & Tricks demo
  • Hear a customer-use case. PlanetPTC Community's own Roger Mansfield, Principal Engineer of Astronomical Data Service, shares how he uses Mathcad in his work as an aerospace engineer.
  • Enter for a chance to Win a $100 AMEX Giftcard by solving the Mathcad Challenge - 5 winners will be selected!


At the conclusion of each of the three conference sessions, the presenter will provide a clue to the audience. Collect all three clues, answer the problem statement below using Mathcad Prime 1.0, and email your worksheet to


The winners will be chosen based on the accuracy of solution; Mathcad Prime 1.0 must be used to calculate the solution. Out of all correct answers, 5 winners will be selected at random. The deadline for submission is Monday, April 18 at 11:59PM EDT.


The Challenge Problem Statement

A train leaves New York at 9:45am EDT, heading for San Francisco...

The train system consists of a straight-line tunnel connecting the two cities. The train uses a MAGLEV (magnetic levitation) system consisting of permanent magnets in the tracks and superconductive electromagnets in the train. To accelerate it uses a combination of electromagnetic force and gravitational pull of the Earth. The deceleration comes also from the gravitational pull of the Earth, as well as aerodynamic drag of the train.
Problem: Compute the arrival time in San Francisco assuming constant propulsion force.


Simplifying assumptions:

  • We are ignoring the cost, or the feasibility, of building such a system
  • We are assuming that the gravitational pull of the Earth is constant throughout the tunnel
  • We are assuming the air in the tunnel is at standard atmospheric conditions (see simplified formula on next page)
  • We assume that the resistance of the tracks is zero, so that all of the energy loss comes from the aerodynamic drag
  • Use the constants provided on the next page to solve the problem


Mathcad Challenge April 2011.bmp

Mathcad Challenge April 2011_2.bmp

Mathcad Challenge April 2011_3.bmp

References: (1) Wikipedia (2) Google Maps


The 3 Input parameters will be revealed as “clues.” One clue will be revealed after each conference session.

  1. Mass of the train (mtrain) =X metric tons
  2. Effective drag coefficient of the train (Cd) =X
  3. Effective frontal area of the train (Atrain) is =Xm2


Email your worksheet to Official Sweepstakes Rules


It will be quite difficult to win if you don't attend. Register for this free event >>


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