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Homework Help: Direction of frictional force Help!

  1. Oct 12, 2007 #1
    Direction of frictional force!! Help!

    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    What is the direction of the frictional force for each question? OR is there not enough info given to answer the question?

    1) http://www.learning.physics.dal.ca/library/Graphics/Gtype10/block01-19.gif [Broken]
    2) http://www.learning.physics.dal.ca/library/Graphics/Gtype10/block01-34.gif [Broken]
    3) http://www.learning.physics.dal.ca/library/Graphics/Gtype10/block01-17.gif [Broken]
    4) http://www.learning.physics.dal.ca/library/Graphics/Gtype10/block01-07.gif [Broken]
    5) http://www.learning.physics.dal.ca/library/Graphics/Gtype10/block01-01.gif [Broken]
    6) http://www.learning.physics.dal.ca/library/Graphics/Gtype10/block01-35.gif [Broken]

    2. Relevant equations

    frictional force concepts

    3. The attempt at a solution

    1) Can't tell, because Fnet is negative but magnitude of weight and F is unknown?
    2) Friction up, need it to keep block static against weight and F pushing down.
    3) Friction to the right?, because it opposes the direction of motion?
    4) Friction to the left, because friction is always perpendicular to the normal force?
    5) Friction up, need it to keep block static against weight pushing down.
    6) Can't tell, because the magnitude of weight and F is unknown.

    I find the direction of frictional force really difficult to grasp.
    Feel free to correct me at any point. Thanks
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 13, 2007 #2


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    Everything seems good to me except 1 and 4.

    For 4 how do you get left?
  4. Oct 13, 2007 #3
    Just remember : Direction of frictional force on the object is opposite to the direction in which the object is moving or tending to move.
  5. Oct 13, 2007 #4
    1. Friction down, because it opposes motion? Is this correct? If so, what effect does the decreasing velocity have?

    4. Common sense tells me friction would act upwards but my book says the frictional force is ALWAYS perpendicular to the normal force, so im confused.
  6. Oct 13, 2007 #5


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    that means that the acceleration is downwards and the net force is downwards.

    But the normal force is to the left... so how can the frictional force be to the left?
  7. Oct 13, 2007 #6
    Oh right! I was thinking that normal force is in opposite direction to gravity, but it's the surface. Thanks!
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