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Homework Help: Force of Tension Problem

  1. Oct 22, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Im doing a lab report, and in the analysis section it asks: -Using Newton’s 2nd Law and the free body diagrams, calculate the theoretical value for the tension in the string and the acceleration of the system. (You should get two simple simultaneous equations which you will have to solve. Refer to your text book for more details.)

    here is the background of the lab: a hanging mass of 50g was attached to the end of a rope, attached on the other end to the force sensor of the cart. The mass is then left hanging off the end of the track, being supported until the trial is ready to be run. After the accelerometer, force sensor, and software were up and running, the data was collected as the 50g weight was dropped, accelerating downward towards the floor as it exerted force on the cart, putting it in motion. The trial was stopped, and several trials were done in order to find the one with the best and most accurate data.

    2. Relevant equations

    f = ma
    Kinematic equations

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I have no idea how to calculate a force of tension from this set-up, or the acceleration. Please help! Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 22, 2012 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Did you "refer to your text book for more details"?

    Some guiding questions:
    What does the "tension" refer to?
    How would you normally encounter tension?
    How would you normally calculate tension for this sort of problem?
  4. Oct 22, 2012 #3
    The tension is the "pull" on the rope. What's the force that pulls on the rope when you let the mass go?
  5. Oct 22, 2012 #4
    isnt tension just the same thing as the force exerted on the cart / weight through the rope?
  6. Oct 22, 2012 #5
    Precisely, now calculate that weight and you have your tension.
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