Orangutans can move by brachiation, swinging like a pendulum beneath successive handholds. If an orangutan has arms that are 0.90 m long and repeatedly swings to a 20 degree angle, taking one swing immediately after the other, estimate how fast it is moving in m/s?
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2 Answers

we should really be treating the orangutan as a physical pendulum not a simple pendulum, but there is not enough information given to do so, so it seems we will have to treat them as a simple pendulum
we can calculate easily the period of such a pendulum from
P = 2 pi Sqrt[L/g] = 6.28 Sqrt[0.9m/9.8m.s.s] = 1.90s
the time from the lowest point to the next branch is 1/4 of a period, so this time is 0.48s
…if they mean forward horizontal velocity, draw a triangle representing the situation to see that the horizontal distance covered is given by
hor distance = L sin 20 = 0.9 sin 20 = 0.31m, and the forward speed is
0.31m/0.48s = 0.65m/s

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