MasteringPhysics: Assignment Print View Applying Newton's 2nd Law Learning Goal: To learn a systematic approach to solving Newton's 2nd law problems using a simple example. Once you have decided to solve a problem using Newton's 2nd law, there are steps that will lead you to a solution. One such prescription is the following: ● Visualize the problem and identify special cases. ● Isolate each body and draw the forces acting on it. ● Choose a coordinate system for each body. ● Apply Newton's 2nd law to each body. ● Write equations for the constraints and other given information. ● Solve the resulting equations symbolically. ● Check that your answer has the correct dimensions and satisfies special cases. ● If numbers are given in the problem, plug them in and check that the answer makes sense. ● Think about generalizations or simplfications of the problem. As an example, we will apply this procedure to find the acceleration of a block of mass that is pulled up a frictionless plane inclined at angle with respect to the horizontal by a perfect string that passes over a perfect pulley to a block of mass that is hanging vertically. First examine the problem by drawing a picture and visualizing the motion. Apply Newton's 2nd law, , to each body in your mind. Don't worry about which quantities are given. Think about the forces on each body: How are these consistent with the direction of the acceleration for that body? Can you think of any special cases that you can solve quickly now and use to test your understanding later? One special case in this problem is if , in which case block 1 would simply fall freely under the acceleration of gravity: . Part A
MasteringPhysics: Assignment Print View Consider another special case in which the inclined plane is vertical ( ). In this case, for what value of would the acceleration of the two blocks be equal to zero? Express your answer in terms of some or all of the variables and . ANSWER: = A force diagram should include only real forces that act on the body and satisfy Newton's 3rd law. One way to check if the forces are real is to detrmine whether they are part of a Newton's 3rd law pair, that is, whether they result from a physical interaction that also causes an opposite force on some other body, which may not be part of the problem. Do not decompose the forces into components, and do not include resultant forces that are combinations of other real forces like centripetal force or fictitious forces like the "centrifugal" force. Assign each force a symbol, but don't start to solve the problem at this point. Part B Which of the four drawings is a correct force diagram for this problem? ANSWER: a b c d Newton's 2nd law, , is a vector equation. To add or subtract vectors it is often easiest to decompose the vector into components. Whereas a particular set of vector components is only valid in a particular coordinate system, the vector equality holds in any coordinate system, giving you freedom to pick a coordinate system that most simplifies the equations that result from the component equations.
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