A 3.0-kg block sliding on a horizontal surface is accelerated by a compressed spring. At first, the block slides without friction. But after leaving the spring, the block travels over a new portion of the surface, with a coefficient of friction 0.20, for a distance of 8.0 m before coming to rest (see Figure 8.12). The force constant of the spring is 120 N/m.
(a) What was the maximum kinetic energy of the block?
(b) How far was the spring compressed before being released?
Here is a link to the picture (Figure 8.12)
The Attempt at a Solution
I do not really understand how to start with this problem. I probably have to break it up into two cases, the distance where forces are conservative (the spring) and the distance where forces are not conservative (the friction). I do not know how to set up the problem because a distance isn't given for where the block is when the spring is compressed. Therefore, I am not sure how I can describe potential energy and apply the formulas for energy conservation.
Any hints to get me started would be greatly appreciated, then I will work some of it out and continue to relay back and forth in this post.
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