I would rather ask a more general question then the specific hw question... Basically I am wondering how to calculate the acceleration of a hanging mass that is attached to another mass on a flat surface. Picture a mass on a table. This mass is attached to a string, which is hooked onto a pulley, and then goes off the edge of the table and is attached to a second mass. I originally thought if it was a friction-less surface that the acceleration would just be gravity no matter what. But I think varying the 2 masses would change things. Also I would like to know how to account for friction. What is the acceleration without friction? What is the acceleration with friction? I need some type of equation with variables so I can solve for any mass values and any coefficient of friction (including friction-less).