Two blocks of mass m1 and m2, resting on a frictionless tabletop, are connected by a massless string passing through a frictionless pulley of mass mp. The figure shows a top view of the arrangement. If a force of magnitude F is applied to the pulley in the direction indicated, what is the acceleration ap of the pulley?
The Attempt at a Solution
I honestly have no idea how to go about this problem. I know the tension in the strings will be F=ma, but I don't understand how the force of the pulley being pulled acts on the rope. Rather than giving me the answers, I would appreciate if someone helped me understand the effects of everything in the problem. I understand that ap cannot equal (m1+m2+mp)/F because there is tension in the ropes, but I don't understand the effect of the force applied to the pulley and how it effects the ropes.