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Newton's Second Law

  1. Mar 21, 2003 #1
    This question has been troubling me... :

    A physics teacher decides to use bathroom scales (calibrated in newtons) in an elevator. The scales provide a measure of the force with which they push up on the teacher. When the lift is stationary the reading on the bathroom scales is 823 N. What will be the reading on the scales when the elevator is:

    a) moving upwards at a constant speed of 2.0 m/s/s
    b) accelerating downwards at 2.0 m/s/s
    c) accelerating upwards at 2.0 m/s/s

    The apparent answers at the back of the textbook read:
    a) 700 N
    b) 5.6 x 10^2 N
    c) 8.4 x 10^2 N

    I think they are wrong?

    My answers are:
    a) 823 N
    b) 655 N
    c) 991 N

    Are my answers correct?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 21, 2003 #2


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    How did you arrive at your answers? That way we can see if you are faulted in your method or not.
  4. Mar 21, 2003 #3
    Yes, place where your work here so we could determine where any potential problem went.
  5. Mar 21, 2003 #4
    For lift accelerating upwards : T = mg + ma, therefore answer = 84*9.8 + 84*2 = 991
    For lift accelerating downwards : T = mg - ma, therefore answer =
    84*9.8 - 84*2 = 655
  6. Mar 21, 2003 #5


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    Ok, well for 1, i assume it said moving at a constant 2 m/s not m/s/s...in that case, you are right, the Normal force(what the scale reads) is the same

    Ok, your equation is Fn-Fg=m*a

    For 2 m/s^2 upward, you have Fn-823=(823/9.8)*2

    Which means Fn=991...which is what u got....

    And for downward Fn-823=(823/9.8)*-2 which gives Fn= 655

    Either were both making the same mistake (I havent done these in a while lol) or the book is just wrong..

    Lemme try to use g=10 for the calculations..
    Fn=987 and Fn=658..yea still close to our answers and far from the books..

    I think the fact that they say that with constant speed, the normal force changes, says that the book is broken
  7. Mar 21, 2003 #6


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    Yeah, the book is wrong.
  8. Mar 23, 2003 #7
    the book is wrong
  9. Mar 23, 2003 #8


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    This is why i never trust books.
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