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Math Help - Determing Acceleration, Tension

  1. #1
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    Determing Acceleration, Tension

    I had a wheel.
    I hung five weights of known masses from the wheel, and these fell a known distance in a known time.
    I also hung a weight and added mass until it just began to move, so I know the frictional force the wheel must overcome to spin.

    I feel so silly asking it, but how can I find
    the acceleration of the falling masses?
    the tension in the string?
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  2. #2
    MHF Contributor
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    Acceleration and tension

    Hello Oijl
    Quote Originally Posted by Oijl View Post
    I had a wheel.
    I hung five weights of known masses from the wheel, and these fell a known distance in a known time.
    I also hung a weight and added mass until it just began to move, so I know the frictional force the wheel must overcome to spin.

    I feel so silly asking it, but how can I find
    the acceleration of the falling masses?
    the tension in the string?
    You don't give us enough detail for me to give you a specific answer, but these are the principles you should use:

    1. If you know that a body starts with velocity u, and it travels a distance s, in time t, with an acceleration a, then

    s = ut +\tfrac{1}{2}at^2

    Obviously, if your weights start from rest, then u = 0, and the equation is simply

    s = \tfrac{1}{2}at^2

    2. If the tension in the string is T (upwards) and there is a weight force mg downwards, and the acceleration is a (downwards) then

    Resolve downwards: mg-T = ma

    If you know a and m, this will give you the tension, T.

    Grandad
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