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Why can't the acceleration of a wedge be found by simply...

  • #1
AStudentNeedsHelp
mentor note: thread moved to h/w forum so template is missing

Hi, I have recently been learning relative acceleration and I have a bit of trouble with basics;

In a problem with a smooth wedge on a smooth plane, a mass is gently placed on the wedge and I've been asked to find the acceleration of the wedge.
Seemed pretty straightforward, just apply F=ma for the wedge?
NO
The answer was obtained by applying F=ma for the particle parallel to the wedge and for the whole system horizontally.
Why couldn't I get the answer by just applying F=ma for the wedge?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
NascentOxygen
Staff Emeritus
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Does the question ask for the relative horizontal acceleration? The wedge moves one way, and the body moves the other way.
 
  • #3
SammyS
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
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mentor note: thread moved to h/w forum so template is missing

Hi, I have recently been learning relative acceleration and I have a bit of trouble with basics;

In a problem with a smooth wedge on a smooth plane, a mass is gently placed on the wedge and I've been asked to find the acceleration of the wedge.
Seemed pretty straightforward, just apply F=ma for the wedge?
NO
The answer was obtained by applying F=ma for the particle parallel to the wedge and for the whole system horizontally.
Why couldn't I get the answer by just applying F=ma for the wedge?
How do you propose finding the net force acting on the wedge ?
 
  • #4
18
10
You should probably use the homework template as per the guidelines. I'm not sure you've given enough information about the problem for anyone to be able to help you.
 

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