# Force and friction problem

popo902

## Homework Statement

Three boxes of masses 25 15 and 30 kg are connected:
link to my picture:
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e47/jo860/force.jpg

The tension on the connecting strings are T1 and T2. The assembly is realeased from rest at t = 0. There is no friction between the box and table.
a) find acceleration of the boxes
b) find T1
c) find T2
d) If there is friction between the box and the table and the coef. of friction is .15, How much is the acceleration of the boxes?

## Homework Equations

F = ma
W = mg
F = friction x normal force

## The Attempt at a Solution

i feel like i'm overthinking the problem. Is it right to add all of the vectors going in the same direction to each other? Maybe I'm under thinking the problem. I never got clarification on what's what.
I just need someone to explain the problem in simpler terms. I've already asked alot of people (tutor, prof, friends) this is my last resort sooo...
I hope someone can explain the mechanics of the problem

The major thing i know to do is that f = ma can be applied to two masses at the same time by adding the masses...and that's all. my answers

## Answers and Replies

Homework Helper
1) All the masses must have the same acceleration.
2)A string must have the same tension in all its segments.
3) Apply Newton's second law to individual masses.
For 30 kg mass
m1g - T1 = m1a ......(1)
Proceed in the same manner for other two masses. And solve equations to find a.

popo902
could you explain how you got

m1g - T1 = m1a ......(1)? this whole equation represents the net force right?

are you subtracting T1 because it's pulling up?
so does this equation sort of assume that the system will move up?
and which way is the f = m1a force pointing?

sorry i have so many questions...this is why i think im over thinking it...

Homework Helper
could you explain how you got

m1g - T1 = m1a ......(1)? this whole equation represents the net force right?
Yes.

are you subtracting T1 because it's pulling up?

Yes
so does this equation sort of assume that the system will move up?

No. It is moving down.

and which way is the f = m1a force pointing?

In the down ward direction.

popo902
could you explain how you got

and which way is the f = m1a force pointing?

In the down ward direction.

Could you explain why it's pointing down?
is it because we assume that the system is moving down?

Homework Helper
Could you explain why it's pointing down?
is it because we assume that the system is moving down?
Not the assumption but it is the fact. T2 pulls the 25 kg mass on the table. 15 kg and 30 kg ,asses move in the downward direction due to gravitational force.
Why are you not proceeding to the other two equations for 15kg and 25 kg?

popo902
oh...right, i should have looked at the picture again.

ok so since it's the same acceleration throughout the entire system
would this be right?
Ms = mass of entire system
Ms *a = (m1 + m2) g
but i can't explain what force the Ms *a is, or where it's pointing

and for T1 is it T1 = mg - m1a ?

and for T2, I ignore all the other stuff pretty much right becuz it's on another axis
and the 25 kg block is movingrightward and since tension is same for all the rope, i can just pay attention to this part
which is T2 = 25a right?

and for the friction, the normal force is eqaul to W
so it must be Fn = 25 g
and since friction always opposes teh motion, motion being T2 (righ?)
so the eqation for finding the a with friction would be
T2- FrictionForce = Msa?
again...i can't explain where the extra Msa comes from, but i just have a feeling it should be there like the previous one...

Homework Helper
It is stated that there is no friction between the box and table
I have given the first equation for m1.
The second equation is
T1 - T2 = m2a.
And the third equation is
T2 = m3a
Now solve these equations to find T1, T2 and acceleration.

popo902
m1 = 30
m2 = 15
m3 = 25

so for a i got a = mg /( m1 + m2 + m3)

then i just plaug that into the T1 and T2 equation to to get those values
but can u explain why its
T1 - T2 = 15a ?
why is it only the m2? Is this equation saying that the T1 is pulling down on m2 while T2 is pulling up on it and that the F = 15a force added to T2 = T1 because its also pointing down?

Homework Helper
so for a i got a = mg /( m1 + m2 + m3)
It should be
a = m1g /( m1 + m2 + m3).
T1 - T2 = 15a ?
why is it only the m2? Is this equation saying that the T1 is pulling down on m2 while T2 is pulling up on it

Yes.
the F = 15a force added to T2 = T1 because its also pointing down?
I didn't understand what you mean by this statement. T2 is not equal to T1.

popo902

the F = 15a force added to T2 = T1 because its also pointing down?
I didn't understand what you mean by this statement. T2 is not equal to T1.

i was kinda asking if the T1 - T2 = 15a eqatuion was arbitrarily picked, but now i see taht it is the only eqatuion to relate the Two forces.

Just to clarify the Force, F = 15a is extra force that's throwing the thing off of equilibrium and pulling the system down right?

its T1 - T2 = 15 a because we present up is negative and down is positive?
or will it always be the one pulling down minus the one pulling up?

Homework Helper
The positive and negative directions are arbitrarily selected. In this problem, the 30 kg and 15 kg masses are moving in the down ward direction, which also the direction of g. So 15a is taken as positive.

popo902
ok i understand it completely now
thank you
took a little while to answer back...and doo more problems
but i got it.
it depends on the direction and common sense i guess
now that i understand it, i don't understand how i didn't get it before hah
thanks tho, sorry for late reply