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Homework Help: Friction problem involving 2 blocks sliding in 2 directions with 2 frictions

  1. Nov 9, 2008 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    http://streetrodjohn.home.comcast.net/~streetrodjohn/physics.jpg [Broken]

    A 1-kg block is pushed against a 4-kg block on a horizontal surface of coefficient of friction 0.25, as shown in the figure. Determine the minimum force needed to ensure that the 1-kg block does not slip down. Assume that the coefficient of friction at the interface between the block is 0.4. Hint: The two blocks exert equal and opposite forces on each other.

    2. Relevant equations


    3. The attempt at a solution

    In class we have done similiar problems, only with a frictionless horizontal surface. I don't know how to account for the horizontal coefficient of friction of .25 in this problem. Using the above equations and ignoring the horizontal coefficient of friction, I get this:





    Now how do I account for the horizontal coefficient of friction of .25? Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 9, 2008 #2
    Well, examining block one, we notice that we want [tex]\sum\vec{F}=m\vec{a}=0=\vec{F}_f+\vec{F}_g\rightarrow\vec{F}_f=-\vec{F}_g[/tex]. From this, we can examine the frictional force, specifically:

    [tex]\vec{F}_f=\mu_i\vec{N}\rightarrow m\vec{g}/\mu_i=\vec{N}[/tex].

    What next? :)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
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