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Homework Help: Elevator problem

  1. Sep 23, 2007 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    A physics student stands on a bathroom scale in an elevator which is not moving. The scale reads 564 N. The elevator then accelerates downward at 1.97 m/s2. What does the scale read during this acceleration?

    2. Relevant equations

    F=ma, W=mg

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I thought at first the answer should be 0 N, but that is wrong...then I tried using Newton's 2nd Law F = 564 N, a = 1.97, but when I plugged this in it was stilled wrong...what equation should I use?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 24, 2007 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    You are using the correct formulae, but are not looking at the whole situation. First, draw yourself a diagram; then consider what force would be required to make the student accelerate downwards at 1.97m/s^2. Finally, you need to figure out how you combine this force with the weight of the student.
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