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Homework Help: Finding an expression for the maximum tension?

  1. Oct 5, 2011 #1
    A toy cart of mass m1 moves on frictionless wheels as it is pulled by a string under tension T. A block of mass m2 rests on top of that cart. The coefficient of static friction between the cart and block is μ. Find an expression for the maximum tension T that will not cause the block to slide on the cart if the cart is rolled up of angle Ɵ above the horizontal. The string is parallel to the surface on which the cart rolls.

    The reason I'm so confused is because I've been given a problem to solve without ANY variables, where do I even start???

    I drew a free-body diagram but it doesn't really help... And theoretically, what is my answer supposed to even turn out to be, T = 0? T =1? I mean is the question asking me to work out a process where I get one of those answers :S Help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 5, 2011 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Variables that you've been given: m1, m2, T, μ, θ. You can assume that g is there, too; It's generally assumed.

    It is fine to provide an answer that is a formula; there need not be a particular numerical answer.
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