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Homework Help: Physics, newton's law

  1. Sep 21, 2005 #1
    well, my question isnt directly towards newton's law or anythiing, but its a question on how to solve problems using newton's law.
    for example, look at this problem below..

    a force of 20N acts horizontally on a mass of 10kg being pushed up a fritionless incline that makes a 30degrees angle with the horizontal. What is the magnitude of the acceleration of the mass up the incline equal to?

    ok, for this problem, how would you know you solve this problem by using the equilibrium in respect to the x ? is it because only x equilibrium exists? or is it because its asking for the magnitude of the acceleration up the incline?
    sorry if this question confuses you..
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 21, 2005 #2


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    Science Advisor

    The problem specifically asks for acceleration! There is no equilibrium here.

    Break the horizontal force into components, one parallel to the incline, the other perpendicular to it. Only the force parallel to the incline will move the mass up the incline. Also break the vertical gravity force into those same components- one parallel to the incline, the other perpendicular to it. Again, only the component parallel to the incline is important. The net force, up or down the incline, is the parallel component of the force applied minus the parallel component of gravitational force. Then, of course, use F= ma.
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