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Locomotive forces problem

  1. Jun 19, 2012 #1
    A 2.1 kg toy locomotive is pulling a 1.7 kg caboose. The frictional force of the track on the caboose is 0.51 N backward along the track. If the train is accelerating forward at 3.4 m/s2, what is the magnitude of the force exerted by the locomotive on the caboose?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 19, 2012 #2

    SammyS

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    Hello foxat. Welcome to PF !

    What have you tried?

    Where are you stuck?

    You must show an attempt, before we can help you. --- those are the rules here at PF.
     
  4. Jun 19, 2012 #3
    Thanks!

    I have approached this problem by using total F = ma, which equals the force exerted by the locomotive on the caboose minus the frictional force. So ma = F of the locomotive - 0.51, and thus F of the locomotive = ma + 0.51. The answer i came up with is (2.1 + 1.7)(3.4) + 0.51, or 13.43 N. Am I approaching this the right way?
     
  5. Jun 20, 2012 #4

    SammyS

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    No.

    What net force is needed to accelerate the caboose at 3.4 m/s2 ?

    Also, do you know about Free Body diagrams ?
     
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