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Homework Help: Finding accleration of object after collision

  1. Jun 15, 2012 #1
    1. Two basketball players collide. Player 1, with a mass of 55.0 kg, experiences a -15.6 m/s2 acceleration. If player 2 has a mass of 48.5 kg, what acceleration did he experience immediately following the collision?

    2. Relevant equations F=ma

    I am doing a correspondance course and I dont understand how to figure this out... dont need a solution but just directions on how to solve this.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 15, 2012 #2


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    Welcome to PF,

    You know the net force on player 1, because you know his mass, and you know his acceleration. (See Newton's 2nd law).

    Now apply Newton's Third law to the problem. What does it say is the relationship between the force on player 1 due to player 2 (which you know), and the force on player 2 due to player 1 (which you need to know)?
  4. Jun 16, 2012 #3
    Ok thanks for your help. Glad I found this forum though or else Id have to wait till monday to talk to my teacher and I need this course done asap.
  5. Jun 16, 2012 #4
    So this is what I got and I am confident that it is correct, however I am unsure about the negative. Would the force that I calculated from player 1 be in the same direction as the acceleration
    ?(away from the collision) Making the Force applied to player 2 positive?


  6. Jun 16, 2012 #5
    The negative force is the force player 2 exerts on player 1, not the force player 1 exerts on player 2.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2012
  7. Jun 16, 2012 #6
    Ohhhh right. Thanks Xisune.
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