Sunday, October 9, 2011

Time and Distance Problem 13 Solution

This is the solution for a algebra time and distance word problem asked by a anonymous user: "Two trains left a station at the same time. One traveled north at a certain speed and the other traveled south at twice that speed. After 3 hours , the trains were 400 miles apart. How fast was each train traveling?"

The speed of the 1st train is x and the 2nd train is twice that or 2x.  Ok the trick here is lets say someone is going 50 mph north and the other person is going twice that 100 the opposite direction.   This distance separating them would be the same thing as if you added their speeds and it was going one direction -- in other words if someone was just going 150mph they would cover the same ground.    Also rate multiplied by time equals distance.  We know the time is 3 hours and the distance is 400.  So

(x + 2x) (3) = 400

3x(3) = 400

9x = 400

x = 400/9  = 44 and 4/9ths  mph is the 1st train and 88 and 8/9ths (800/9) mph is the 2nd train.

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