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PC1431 Tutorial 2 Hints

1. Concepts used: Statics, Free body diagram

Hints: Focus only on Kathy first. That is, ignore any forces not acting on Kathy, and draw all the forces acting

on Kathy. Since the whole system is in equilibrium, there is no acceleration, and therefore all the forces should

add up to zero.This should give you one equation. Next, you focus on Kathy, Tommy, and the platform as a single

object. Draw all the forces acting on this ”object” and ignore any forces within the object, e.g. the force between

the platform and Tommy and Kathy. Again all these forces should add up to zero, giving you another equation.

Solve the two equations you have for the force exerted by the platform on Kathy (n). By Newton’s third law, this

force should be the same as the force exerted by Kathy on the platform.

2. Concepts used: Newton’s second law, Free body diagram, Frictional force

Hints: Similar to tutorial 1 question 1, the easiest way to do this question is by setting x axis to be along the incline

and y axis to be perpendicular to the incline. Next, resolve all the forces into x and y direction, and apply Newton’s
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second law F = ma separately for each direction. Maximum tension can be achieved by inserting the maximum

allowed value given in the question into ax , and solve everything for T .

3. Concepts used: Circular motion, Frictional force

Hints: Use your intuition to understand qualitatively what happens when ω is too small or too large. In case you

don’t know, ω = T , where T is the period of revolution. If ω is too small, the friction will be pointing outward,

while if ω is too large, the friction will be pointing inward. In the situation when ω is just enough to keep the mass

in place, the (static) friction force will be maximum. Although this problem deals with an inclined plane, it is still

easier to choose x and y axis to be horizontal and vertical as usual. Next, resolve all forces into x and y direction.

Along horizontal direction, the acceleration is equal to the centripetal acceleration, and centripetal acceleration in

terms of ω is acent = ω 2 r. By applying Newton’s 2nd law along x and y direction, you will be able to find the

minimum and maximum allowed values for ω to keep the mass in place.

4. Concepts used: Frictional force, Newton’s second and third law, Free body diagram

Common Mistake: The most fatal misconception is that some assume the force acting on block B is also F .

Another mistake is the misconception that the friction will be kinetic whenever the tension acting on block B is

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larger than the maximum static friction force mB gµs , and static otherwise.

Hints: Focus on each block one by one and one at the time. When focusing on one of the blocks, draw all the

forces acting on that particular block only and ignore everything else. When the acceleration of block A and B are

the same, the friction between them is a static friction force, otherwise, the friction is a kinetic friction. Notice that

under the maximum horizontal force specified by the question, the static friction force between A and B is maximum.

Use Newton’s second law for each block, and solve the simultaneous equations.

5. Concepts used: Frictional force, Newton’s second law, Free body diagram

Common Mistake: Similar to in question 4, when drawing the forces acting on mass m, some assume that the

horizontal force F also act on m, which is not true as it only acts on M . The pushing force on m is caused by the

normal force between m and M .

Hints: This is another type of question where it is easier to use the usual horizontal x and vertical y axis despite

the incline. Since both m and M move with the same acceleration, treat both masses as a single ”object” and use

Newton’s 2nd law. This should allow you to relate F and the acceleration a of the system. Next, focus on m only,

and draw the forces acting on it, ignoring all other forces that has nothing to do with m. In particular, note that

the (static) friction force will be pointing toward the top of the incline when F is too small, while it will be pointing

toward the bottom of the incline when F is too large. When F is just enough to prevent m from sliding downward

or upward, the (static) friction force is maximum. Finally, by resolving all these forces into vertical and horizontal,

and apply Newton’s 2nd law, you will be able to find the lowest and highest allowed acceleration for m to not slide

downward or upward. By using the relation between a and F obtained earlier, you will be able to find the range of

F.