1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Maximum acceleration of a car

  1. Sep 28, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    What is the maximum acceleration a car can undergo if the coefficient of static friction between the tires and the ground is 0.38?

    that is it, no mass or anything else

    2. Relevant equations
    (friction coefficient)Fn=Ffr
    Fn = normal force
    Ffr = friction force

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I have tried different things, but I can't figure out how to do the problem without a mass...
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 28, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Show your calculations.
    The car will start moving when the applied force overcomes the frictional force.
  4. Sep 28, 2009 #3


    User Avatar

    The fact that no mass is given should be a clue. In other words you can expect that the mass of the car will cancel from the equation you want to develop.

    The previous hint was not quite correct. In essence you can think of the car being the car is accelerated by any force less than, or just equal to the static frictional force between the tires and the road. Above that and the tires will spin causing rubber to be burned and the car accelerates more slowly.

    Hence you need to combine F = ma and your equation for the frictional force. Remember that the frictional force is given by the coefficient of static friction times the normal force. What is the normal force? There you will find a mass that will cancel the m in F = ma.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook