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Homework Help: Two blocks with spring (no friction), force applied: displacement?

  1. Sep 6, 2011 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    A 2kg block & 3kg block (left & right, respectively) are on a horizontal frictionless surface connected by a spring with K=140 N/m. A 15N force is applied to the 3kg block towards the right. How much does the spring stretch from its equilibrium length?

    2. Relevant equations

    others, maybe?

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I simply did force over constant, which is 15/140=0.107m. Is it this simple, or do you use the masses in some way?

    Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 6, 2011 #2
    the gravitational force of the 3kg is going to be more than the 2 kg gravitational force. So, when you pull with 15N to the right, it will not act like a fixed spring constant. So, what you should do is say 3-2kg=1kg so the resultant will include 9.81 newtons in terms of the spring being moved, not the entire system which includes the spring and the two blocks. So, I think the answer is 15N-9.81N then you multiply by its constant.
  4. Sep 6, 2011 #3
    Oh ok, that makes more sense. But wouldn't you divide by the constant instead of multiplying by the constant, so the final answer would be N/(N/m)=m?
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