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Another pulley-type question

  1. Aug 19, 2010 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    This is from the Serway Book Prob 5.63a
    A cart of mass M with a (light) pulley at the corner, which connects with two blocks, one on the top of cart (m_1), one at the right side (m_2), and in contact with the cart. assume frictionless surfaces, wheels and pulley.
    Also assume m_2 can move vertically only.

    Initially the system is held at rest. At the instant after the system is released, find the tension in the string.
    (Note: The pulley accelerates along with the cart)

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I draw free body diagrams for M, m_1 and m_2, and get (take right as positive)
    where N is the action/reaction force between M and m_2

    Then I was stuck. how to eliminate N? also it seems weird to me, becuase the only horizontal force act on m_2 is the reaction force from the cart (N), how can it just move vertically only when the cart is accelerating to left (as it should be? the only force on the cart is -N)

    Any "tips" or "hints" is appreciable. Thanks
  2. jcsd
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