Algebraic expressiong for two blocks

1. Jun 1, 2009

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
Two blocks are sliding to the right across a horizontal surface, as the drawing shows. In Case A the masses of both blocks are 2.2 kg. In Case B the mass of block 1, the block behind, is 7.0 kg, and the mass of block 2 is 3.5 kg. No frictional force acts on block 1 in either Case A or Case B. However, a kinetic frictional force does act on block 2 in both cases and opposes the motion. In the drawing, the direction to the right is the positive direction.

picture: http://www.webassign.net/CJ/p4-118alt.gif

What is the algebraic expression for the magnitude P of the forces vector P and -vector P with which the blocks push against each other? Express your answer in terms of the mass m1 of block 1, the mass m2 of block 2, and the magnitude fk of the kinetic frictional force that acts on block 2. The direction to the right in the drawing is the positive direction. (Answer using m_1 to be the mass of block 1, m_2 to be the mass of block 2, and f_k to be the kinetic frictional force fk.)

in other words, write out an expression using m_1, m_2, and friction of kinetic force, fk.

i do not understand how you can derive a force equation corresponding to opposing forces without including a variable for acceleration. since both blocks in each case will have f=ma, shouldn't the expression be something like f=(m_1)a+m_2*a? can someone please give me a hint on how to solve this? what am i missing

2. Jun 1, 2009

PhanthomJay

Yes, so what is the net force acting on the system of blocks? That will determine the acceleration. Then you can isolate the blocks in a free body diagram to solve for the contact force between the 2.

Last edited: Jun 1, 2009