1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Constant velocity and net force

  1. Jun 17, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    A man is pushing a 75 kg crate at constant
    velocity a distance of 12 m across a warehouse.
    He is pushing with a force of 225 N at an angle
    of 15° down from the horizontal. The coefficient
    of friction between the crate and the floor is
    0.24. How much work did the man do on the
    crate?


    2. Relevant equations



    3. The attempt at a solution
    Fn = mg + 225sin15 = 794
    Fnet = 217.33 - 190.5 = 26.83
    26.83*12= 321 J
    I did solve the question, but there is one thing that I don't understand:
    How can the object have a net force (in this case, 26.83) and still move in constant velocity? Wouldn't it have a constant acceleration instead?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 17, 2013 #2

    Simon Bridge

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    2016 Award

    A constant net force means a constant acceleration - you are correct. There is no way a net force produces a constant velocity.
     
  4. Jun 17, 2013 #3
    but then the question says that the box is moving at constant velocity when it was pushed 12m...
     
  5. Jun 17, 2013 #4
    You calculated the net work done on the crate by both the man and frictional force. What is the work done on the crate by the man alone?

    In regards to your question concerning the claim of the constant velocity of the crate, either the statement of the question is in error on this point or there is an additional force acting on the crate.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2013
  6. Jun 17, 2013 #5

    Simon Bridge

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    2016 Award

    Yeah - what he said: you have to have courage in what you observe.
    The problem has described something that cannot happen.

    You should check your ideas about force and work - W=Fd ... here, F would be the force exerted by the man in the direction of the motion.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2013
  7. Jun 18, 2013 #6
    But aren't you looking at the net force that is generated from the man's push? If I would only account for the force that was exerted by the man, than I would get 225cos15*12 = 2608J, but the correct answer is 320 because I'm taking into account the normal force which is mg + 225sin15 = 794, then I multiply by the coefficient which gives me 190.56N and then I add the two forces (225cos15 - 190.56) which gives me 26.8 N, which I substitute to the formula to get 322 J, which is roughly what they were looking for.
    Overall, the question's statement was wrong, and the box couldn't move at constant speed with a net force.
     
  8. Jun 18, 2013 #7

    Simon Bridge

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    2016 Award

    This is how the thinking went:

    The man exerts normal and horizontal components. The total work done by the man is just the sum of the work done by each component.

    What is the distance moved in the direction of the horizontal force?
    Therefore, how much work is done by the horizontal force?

    What is the distance moved in the direction of the normal force?
    Therefore, how much work is done by the normal force?

    Therefore: what is the total work done by the man?

    But you are right - the question does ask for the amount of work done on the crate ... some of the total work is done on the ground (via friction). So the work done on the crate is the work done against friction subtracted from the total work done by the man.

    Which would be the net force on the crate, multiplied by the distance traveled.
    You could also do it by the work-energy relation and some kinematics - which could be an interesting way to check considering how they think it's a constant velocity.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2013
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted