# Negative Values of the Frictional Force?

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1. Mar 20, 2017

### AilingLore21

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

Ignore B & C for now

The block in the figure reaches a velocity of 40 m/sec in 100 m, starting from rest. Compute the coefficient of kinetic friction between the block and the ground.

W = 100N

F = 40 N

2. Relevant equations

∑Fy = 0 so Normal Force = Weight
∑Fx = Force - Inertia - Frictional Force - Weight = 0

3. The attempt at a solution

0.5 (V^2 -Vo^2) = as

0.5 (40^2 - 0) = a(100m)

a = 8 m/s^2

So I got this equation:

40 N = 100 N ( cos90) + 100N (8m/s^2 / 9.806 ) + 100 N ( μ)

I ended up getting a negative coefficient of friction which is

-0.415827. Is there something wrong with my equation?

2. Mar 20, 2017

### Comeback City

You cannot have a negative coefficient of friction.
Also, write out your equation in variable form.

3. Mar 20, 2017

### John Park

Think about the directions of the forces, how they add or subtract.

4. Mar 20, 2017

### AilingLore21

0.5 (V2 -Vo2) = 2 * a * d

∑Fy = 0

W = 100N
N - W = 0
so W =100 N

∑Fx = 0

F = 40 N

F - Ff - W ( a / g ) - W = 0

5. Mar 20, 2017

### AilingLore21

The inertia naturally resists the motion so it's negative, frictional force too. Weight is multiplied by the cosine of 90 so it's technically zero. Force appears to be going to the right so it's positive. I'm still having trouble why it's a negative value when computed

6. Mar 20, 2017

### John Park

If Ff is the frictional force, what is W?

7. Mar 20, 2017

### AilingLore21

Weight, so are you saying Weight does not exist on a horizontal movement ?

8. Mar 20, 2017

### John Park

But the acceleration must have the same direction and the same sign as the net force.

9. Mar 20, 2017

### John Park

It has no effect that isn't already accounted for: weight by definition acts only vertically, and in this case is balanced by the normal force. You have the coresponding mass in the term that includes g.

10. Mar 20, 2017

### kuruman

I see a couple of problems with this equation.
1. You say that the net force (sum of all the forces) is zero. That is true only if the acceleration is zero. This is not true here because the block starts from zero velocity and reaches 40 m/s some time later. Therefore the acceleration cannot possibly be zero.
2. You show 4 forces acting in the horizontal direction. I can only see 2 that make sense, "Force" (pushing the block) and "Frictional force" (from the ground contact). Where does "Inertia" come from? What about "Weight"? Is that in the horizontal direction?

11. Mar 20, 2017

### TomHart

I got the same answer. Maybe we are both crazy.

12. Mar 20, 2017

### AilingLore21

Ok , so this gave me an idea

∑Fx = 0

F = 40 N

F - Ff + W ( a / g ) = 0

So if I compute again

40 - Ff + 100 ( 8m/s2 / 9.806)

I would get a Ff of 121.5827 N

divide that by 100 and I get a coefficient of 1.22

Seems pretty large for a coefficient of friction

13. Mar 20, 2017

### Comeback City

This is wrong.

14. Mar 20, 2017

### TomHart

If a force of 40 N is applied to a mass of 10 kg, you get an acceleration of 4 m/s^2. So how can you get an acceleration of 8 m/s^2 unless you have another force acting in the same direction. Thus, a negative μ.

Maybe it's too earl for me and I'm not fully awake yet.
Edit: See ^. I can't even type "early".

15. Mar 20, 2017

### Comeback City

Interestingly enough, I also got that same negative answer. I'm not sure what could've gone wrong here unless the data from the original question was copied down incorrectly, since a negative coefficient of friction is physically impossible.

16. Mar 20, 2017

### TomHart

Either written down wrong, or a poorly-thought-out problem.

17. Mar 20, 2017

### Comeback City

Yeah both are very possible

18. Mar 20, 2017

### TomHart

@AilingLore21 Can you check if all of the values in the problem are written down correctly.

19. Mar 20, 2017

### John Park

I think you have the wrong sign for the acceleration; but I agree something is strange here. The block was accelerated at almost g, which as far as I can see is incompatible with a 40 N force and a 100/g kg mass. Have you checked the given data, including units?

20. Mar 20, 2017

### AilingLore21

I somewhat figured out that
They are apparently. I'm used to solving the inclined versions of these. I wonder why I'm having this much trouble on a horizontal one