- #1

jon4444

- 68

- 1

Once the boxes are accelerating, why is the net force on each different? I understand mathematically that it needs to be different if their masses are different (due to F=MA), but I can't get my head around it conceptually--what "happens" to the force as it gets transferred from box to box. Why does it vary?

Related, if the force from box 1 on box 2 is equivalent to the force from box 2 on box 1, why are they moving? Again, I get the idea that the reaction forces are different than the net forces, but conceptually, how can box 2 be accelerating if it's pushing just as hard back on box 1? (I.e., wouldn't the force coming from box 1 be "neutralized" by the reaction force?)

I know how to solve these problems to get the right answer in a textbook but any insights at the conceptual level to help develop a more intuitive understanding of the situation would be appreciated.

Jon