Basic course in Mechanics: Abhijit Kar Gupta, e-mail: kg.abhi@gmail.

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Tricks in Mechanics: Parallel resistor and combination of masses The equivalent resistance of two resistors, r1 and r2 : • Series combination, R = r1 + r2 rr • Parallel combination, R = 1 2 . r1 + r2 We shall see how the law of parallel combination (or series) can be generally thought of in the case of mechanical systems where the masses are combined in different ways. This can make our calculation easy. We can quickly get the answers (without solving the problem actually) in some cases at least. Think of the tension in the string for the following arrangements:

T
m1 g m2 g
Pulley: Atwood’s Machine

Tension T = (m1 + m2 ) g This is like a series combination of two masses, m1 and m2 .

Tension in the string in this case can be found to be  mm  T = 2 1 2  g = 2Mg m +m  2   1 Here we can think of M to be the parallel combination of two masses m1 and m 2 or the reduced mass or centre of mass as talked in Rigid body Mechanics. Therefore, the tension in the string is as if due to the sum of two equivalent masses: T = Mg + Mg m If we have m1 = m2 , M = and thus T = mg ; this can 2 be verified by usual calculation.

T
m1 g m2 g

θ . sin 90 o + Mg. T = Mg. if we put α = 90 o and β = 0 o .com 2 Now consider the following situations: Double inclined plane m1 α β m2 Tension in the strings: T = Mg (sin α + sin β ) Note that when we put α = 90 o and β = 90 o we get back the Atwood’s machine case: T = 2Mg Next. sin 0 o = Mg For the inclined plane below: T Here. sin 90 o + Mg. sin θ = Mg (1 + sin θ ) In this case.abhi@gmail. we arrive at the following situation: Here the tension is calculated as  mm  T =  1 2  g = Mg m +m  2   1 The above formula can be viewed as T = Mg. α = 90 o and β = θ . e-mail: kg.Basic course in Mechanics: Abhijit Kar Gupta.

T = 2π M = m1 m2 m1 + m2 M .abhi@gmail. For example. the spring‐mass system where two masses m1 and m 2 are attached with a spring of spring‐constant k : m2 m1 Time period. the combination of torsional rigidities and the combination of capacitors etc. Try yourself more… .com 3 Analogy can be drawn in other cases also.Basic course in Mechanics: Abhijit Kar Gupta. e-mail: kg. Interestingly. where k This is an exercise to look at the apparent similarities between different things and to find out tricks how one can find solutions in some cases without actually solving the problem.

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