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Boxes on a frictionless shelf

  1. Sep 26, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    A box of mass m2 = 3.7 kg rests on a frictionless horizontal shelf and is attached by strings to boxes of masses m1 = 1.2 kg and m3 = 2.1 kg as shown below. Both pulleys are frictionless and massless. The system is released from rest. After it is released, find the following.


    3. The attempt at a solution

    I found the relevant forces of gravity to be 18.62 on m1, and 27.44 on m3, but I have little clue of where to go from there. Any idea would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 26, 2013 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    missing diagram?

    incomplete information.
    Are m1 and m3 hanging off opposite sides of the shelf?

    Draw a free-body diagram for each box and apply newton's laws: ƩF=ma
     
  4. Sep 27, 2013 #3
    My apologies; the boxes m1 and m3 are indeed hanging off opposite sides of the shelf.
     

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  5. Sep 27, 2013 #4

    Simon Bridge

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    OK - so did you draw a free body diagram for each box?
     
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