This problem is driving me crazy

  • Thread starter Nero25
  • Start date
In summary, the problem involves finding the magnitude of the force of a car on a truck when the car has a mass of 1000 kg and the truck has a mass of 2000 kg. The given information includes the car's wheels pushing against the ground with a force of 4500 Newtons. Using Newton's 3rd law, a free body diagram can be drawn to determine the action/reaction pairs and figure out the physical scenario before applying mathematical equations. The acceleration due to gravity should not be used in this case as the cars are not accelerating through the ground. Friction can also be ignored in this problem.
  • #1
Nero25
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This problem is driving me crazy!

Homework Statement




What is the magnitude of the force of the car on the truck, when the mass of the car is 1000 kg, when the mass of the truck is 2000 kg, when the driver steps on the accelerator, the wheels of the car push against the ground with a force of 4500 Newtons. What is the magnitude of the force of the car on the truck? The car is pushing the truck, just to clarify, not the other way around.

The car is pushing the truck, there's no rope or chain or anything involved. It seems like there's some sort of information missing in this problem.

Homework Equations



F = m x a

Force / Normal force = coefficient of friction

The Attempt at a Solution



I started off by assuming you could find the force by multplying the mass times the acceleration, because of the fact that the problem gives you so little information, but that's incorrect. (1000 x 9.807)

I do know that all the forces given are in the y-direction, and there's no way to change that to x without finding the acceleration or the coeffecient of friction. I'm not quite sure if you can use the Newtons as the force to find a coefficient of friction, in which case I got 4500/9800, which is equal to .46 for the frictional coefficient, but I'm not sure if that's right or not.

Someone please help!
 
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  • #2
Have you considered using Newton's 3rd law for this problem? That is, try drawing a free body diagram, list all of the action/reaction pairs, and try to figure out what happens physically before you try applying mathematics.

Also, I think you must be a little confused if you are using gravity as an acceleration because the car and truck will not be accelerating through the ground. In fact, Newton's third law would show that the weight of the cars on the Earth is the same as the Earth's push on the cars.

*P.S. I think you are able to ignore friction in this case.
 
  • #3


I understand your frustration with this problem. It does seem like there is some information missing that would be helpful in solving it. However, based on the information given, we can still make some assumptions and come up with a reasonable solution.

First, we can assume that the car and truck are on a flat surface, so we can ignore the effects of gravity. This means that the only forces acting on the car and truck are the normal force from the ground and the force of the car pushing against the ground.

Using Newton's third law, we know that the force of the car on the truck is equal in magnitude but opposite in direction to the force of the truck on the car. So, the magnitude of the force of the car on the truck will also be 4500 Newtons.

To find the acceleration of the car and truck, we can use the equation F=ma, where F is the net force (4500 Newtons) and m is the total mass (1000kg + 2000kg = 3000kg). This gives us an acceleration of 1.5 m/s^2 for both the car and the truck.

Finally, to find the force of the car on the truck, we can use the equation F=ma again, this time using the mass of the car (1000kg) and the acceleration we just calculated (1.5 m/s^2). This gives us a force of 1500 Newtons.

In summary, based on the information given, the magnitude of the force of the car on the truck is 4500 Newtons, and the magnitude of the force of the car on the truck is 1500 Newtons. I hope this helps alleviate some of your frustration with this problem. Keep up the good work as a scientist!
 

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