Suppose I have two masses with mass [tex]M[/tex] each connected together by a spring with spring constant [tex]k[/tex] like this:(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

[PLAIN]http://img827.imageshack.us/img827/4896/springs1.png [Broken]

Then I apply a force of [tex]F[/tex] at both ends:

[PLAIN]http://img833.imageshack.us/img833/2562/spring2.png [Broken]

Then using Hooke's law [tex]F=kx[/tex], the compression of the spring [tex]x[/tex] would be given by:

[tex]x=F/k[/tex]

So now if I apply the same force [tex]F[/tex] just to the right end like this:

[PLAIN]http://img810.imageshack.us/img810/4236/spring3.png [Broken]

The acceleration of the system is given by Newton's 2nd Law [tex]F=ma[/tex]

[tex]F=2Ma [/tex]

[tex]a=\frac{F}{2M}[/tex]

And the acceleration of the mass on the left is the same as the entire system so the force is:

[tex]F_{left mass}=Ma [/tex]

[tex]F_{left mass}=M\frac{F}{2M}[/tex]

[tex]F_{left mass}=\frac{F}{2}[/tex]

This force must be supplied by the spring so using hookes law:

[tex]\frac{F}{2}=kx[/tex]

[tex]x=\frac{F}{2k}[/tex]

This value is half as much as before.

Here is where I'm confused can anyone explain the difference between this and the situation described in this post http://scienceblogs.com/dotphysics/2008/10/fake-vs-real-forces/" [Broken] where it is said the compression is "the compression is EXACTLY the same before"

What mistakes have I made?

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# Homework Help: Compression in Accelerating Springs.

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