Finding friction and tension for a train

• aftonmathews
In summary, the question presents a scenario where a UTA Trax train with an engine capable of applying 96050 Newtons and a locomotive weighing 1750 kg is connected to a passenger car weighing 949 kg. The train accelerates at a rate of 1.29 m/s/s, and the task is to determine the amount of friction present in the passenger car. The second part of the question involves finding the tension in the cable connecting the engine and passenger car. The student has attempted to use the equation ΣF=Ff=ma, but has not been successful and is seeking help to better understand friction and tension.
aftonmathews

Homework Statement

A UTA Trax train engine can apply 96050 Newtons and locomotive has a mass of 1750 kg. The passenger car has a mass of 949 kg.
(A) If the train accelerates at a rate of 1.29 m/s/s, how much friction is present in the passenger car? (Assume the locomotive moves without slipping and assume air resistance is negligible.)
(B) Assuming the engine and passenger car are connected with a cable, what is the tension in the cable connecting the engine to the passenger car?

Homework Equations

I tried using (ΣF=Ff=ma) but after working it out and submitting my answer, I got it wrong. Also, for tension, I couldn't even find an equation to solve for tension.

The Attempt at a Solution

I've worked the question over and over again but I can't find a correct answer. I'm in AP Physics and can't move onto the next unit without understanding friction and tension. Thank you for helping!

aftonmathews said:
I tried using (ΣF=Ff=ma) but after working it out and submitting my answer, I got it wrong.

Please show us one of your attempts so we can see where you are going wrong.

Typically Ff=ma would give you the friction force that effectively pulls the train along. However that's not what they ask you to calculate.

They ask for the friction in the passenger car. I believe they mean the total of things like rolling resistance and friction in bearings (eg the force holding it back).

Last edited:

1. What is friction and tension in relation to a train?

Friction is the force that resists the movement of an object over a surface, while tension is the pulling force exerted by a string, rope, or cable. In the context of a train, friction and tension are important factors in its movement and control.

2. How is friction and tension measured for a train?

Friction and tension for a train can be measured using various methods such as load cells, strain gauges, and force sensors. These devices can be attached to different components of the train, such as the wheels and tracks, to measure the forces acting on them.

3. What factors affect the amount of friction and tension experienced by a train?

The amount of friction and tension experienced by a train is influenced by several factors, including the weight of the train, the condition of the tracks, the speed of the train, and the weather conditions. These factors can affect the level of resistance and pulling force experienced by the train.

4. How do engineers use friction and tension data to improve train performance?

Engineers can analyze the data collected from measuring friction and tension to improve train performance. They can use this information to make adjustments to the train's weight distribution, track maintenance, and speed limits to optimize the train's movement and reduce wear and tear on the components.

5. What are some potential risks associated with high levels of friction and tension for a train?

High levels of friction and tension can lead to increased wear and tear on the train's components, which can result in costly repairs and maintenance. It can also cause safety hazards, such as derailment or loss of control, if not properly managed. Therefore, it is important to monitor and manage friction and tension levels for safe and efficient train operation.

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