# F=ma problem, I feel retarded because I can't get it

• phx1
In summary, the conversation is about a homework problem with two parts, involving an empty truck with a mass of 1500 kg and a maximum acceleration of 1.4 m/s^2. The first part asks for the maximum force that accelerates the truck, while the second part involves a 500 kg load being added to the truck and asks for the maximum acceleration. The equation being used is F=ma and the student is struggling to find the correct answer for the second part of the problem.
phx1
Seriously I feel so stupid because I can't get the answer to the second part of the problem, what am I doing wrong?

## Homework Statement

2 parts to the problem:

An empty truck whose mass is 1500 kg has a maximum acceleration of 1.4 m/s^2 . What is the maximum force that accelerates the truck? ______N

What is the maximum acceleration when it is carrying a 500 kg load? (hint: same force, but new total mass) ______m/s^2

F=ma

## The Attempt at a Solution

This is for a web based quiz and I got the first part right, it's obviously 2100 N, so then I figured: ok, so to find the acceleration using the same force just solve for a, therefore it should be 2100 N/500 kg, which gives me an answer of 4.2 m/s^2. It's telling me the 2100 N is correct, but not the 4.2 m/s^2 ... what am I doing wrong or not taking into consideration? It's so easy I'm just missing it...

Force = TOTALmass * acceleration

What is the TOTALmass

First of all, it's important to remember that everyone learns at their own pace and it's completely normal to struggle with certain concepts. It's important to not be too hard on yourself and to keep trying.

In this problem, you are correct that the maximum force that accelerates the truck is 2100 N. However, the second part of the problem is asking for the maximum acceleration when the truck is carrying a 500 kg load. This means that the total mass of the truck and load is now 1500 kg + 500 kg = 2000 kg.

To find the maximum acceleration, you need to rearrange the equation F=ma to solve for a. This gives you a=F/m. Plugging in the known values, you get a=2100 N/2000 kg, which gives you an answer of 1.05 m/s^2.

So, the maximum acceleration when the truck is carrying a 500 kg load is 1.05 m/s^2, which is half of the maximum acceleration when the truck is empty. This makes sense because the same force is acting on a larger mass, resulting in a smaller acceleration.

I hope this explanation helps and don't be discouraged, you're on the right track! Keep practicing and asking for help when needed.

## 1. What is the "F=ma problem"?

The "F=ma problem" refers to the relationship between force, mass, and acceleration, as described by Isaac Newton's second law of motion. It states that the force applied to an object is equal to the mass of the object multiplied by its acceleration.

## 2. Why is it difficult to understand?

Many people struggle with understanding the "F=ma problem" because it involves complex mathematical concepts and requires a solid understanding of physics. It also requires a shift in thinking, as it goes against our everyday experiences and intuition about motion.

## 3. How can I better understand the "F=ma problem"?

To better understand the "F=ma problem", it is important to have a strong grasp of the basic principles of physics, such as force, mass, and acceleration. It can also be helpful to practice solving related problems and to seek help from a teacher or tutor if needed.

## 4. What are some real-life applications of the "F=ma problem"?

The "F=ma problem" has many real-life applications, such as in the design of vehicles and structures, understanding the motion of objects in sports, and even in medical procedures like calculating the force needed to break a bone.

## 5. Is there a simpler way to understand the "F=ma problem"?

While the "F=ma problem" can seem daunting at first, there are many resources available that break it down into simpler terms and provide helpful explanations and examples. It may also be beneficial to approach the problem from different angles and to practice using different problem-solving strategies.

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