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Homework Help: Two carts on a frictionless AIR Track held together then released with a sping.

  1. Jun 5, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Two carts 'a' and 'b' are floating on a frictionless air-track and are stationary. 'a' is three times the mass of 'b'. They are being held together and there is a spring between them. The carts are released. Describe what happens after the release.

    2. Relevant equations
    Im guessing the usual Kinetic Energy equations are relevant here

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Well not sure if i am on to something but cart B will definitely go further than cart A as it weighs less and the acceleration of Cart B will be significantly quicker too. But i am confused with the forces acting on them in this situation. It says to describe only but want to know a bit more detail if possible.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 5, 2012 #2


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    Gold Member

    I am very tired and read this message as "two (cats) on a frictionless AIR Track held together then released with a spring", and had a good laugh, thinking if they were alive or dead.

  4. Jun 5, 2012 #3
    I thought i had misspelled something for a second :p
  5. Jun 5, 2012 #4


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    Gold Member

    You did "spring" not sping.

    Oh, Carts not Cats..... LOL

    I suppose none of this is helping to answer your questions though.....sorry about that.
    Of-coarse it is getting your question viewed by bumping it up in the new messages.
  6. Jun 5, 2012 #5
    You could apply conservation of momentum here. Also, that whole 'for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction' thing could help with figuring out the forces on each.
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