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Magnitude of the Acceleration of an Elevator when it first begins to move

  1. Dec 6, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    A person stands on a bathroom scale in a motionless elevator. When the elevator begins to move, the scale briefly reads only 0.88 of the person's regular weight.

    Calculate the magnitude of the acceleration of the elevator.


    2. Relevant equations

    w=mg
    F=Ma

    3. The attempt at a solution

    Fn-Fg=ma
    A=Fn-Fg/m
    A=9.8-9.8/.88

    I know that answer is definately wrong because it cant be 0.

    I am completely stuck on this problem, any help would be appreciated, thanks!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 6, 2009 #2

    PhanthomJay

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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    xsorealx, welcome to PF!
    Your algebra is off, and so is your calculation for the variables. It's [tex] a = (F_n - F_g)/m [/tex], where [tex]F_g = mg[/tex], and [tex]F_n[/tex] is the scale reading.
     
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