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# 10/4/2017 MasteringPhysics: Assignment 3 - Forces Part One

ContactForcesIntroduced

LearningGoal:
Tointroducecontactforces(normalandfrictionforces)andtounderstandthat,exceptforfrictionforcesundercertain
circumstances,theseforcesmustbedeterminedfrom:netForce=ma.

Twosolidobjectscannotoccupythesamespaceatthesametime.Indeed,whentheobjectstouch,theyexertrepulsivenormal
forcesoneachother,aswellasfrictionalforcesthatresisttheirslippingrelativetoeachother.Thesecontactforcesarisefroma
complexinterplaybetweentheelectrostaticforcesbetweentheelectronsandionsintheobjectsandthelawsofquantum
mechanics.Astwosurfacesarepushedtogethertheseforcesincreaseexponentiallyoveranatomicdistancescale,easily
becomingstrongenoughtodistortthebulkmaterialintheobjectsiftheyapproachtooclose.Ineverydayexperience,contact
forcesarelimitedbythedeformationoraccelerationoftheobjects,ratherthanbythefundamentalinteratomicforces.Hence,we
canconcludethefollowing:
Themagnitudeofcontactforcesisdeterminedby F = ma,thatis,bytheotherforceson,andaccelerationof,thecontacting

bodies.Theonlyexceptionisthatthefrictionalforcescannotexceedn(althoughtheycanbesmallerthanthisorevenzero).

Normalandfrictionforces
Twotypesofcontactforcesoperateintypicalmechanicsproblems,thenormalandfrictionalforces,usuallydesignatedbynand
f (orF f ric ,orsomethingsimilar)respectively.Thesearethecomponentsoftheoverallcontactforce:nperpendiculartoandf

paralleltotheplaneofcontact.

Kineticfrictionwhensurfacesslide

1.Thefrictionalforceopposestherelativemotionatthepointofcontact,
2.f k isproportionaltothenormalforce,and
3.theratioofthemagnitudeofthefrictionalforcetothatofthenormalforceisfairlyconstantoverawiderangeof
speeds.

Theconstantofproportionalityiscalledthecoefficientofkineticfriction,oftendesignatedk .Aslongastheslidingcontinues,
thefrictionalforceisthen

f
k
= n
k
(validwhenthesurfacesslidebyeachother).

Staticfrictionwhensurfacesdon'tslide
Whenthereisnorelativemotionofthesurfaces,thefrictionalforcecanassumeanyvaluefromzerouptoamaximums n ,
wheres isthecoefficientofstaticfriction.Invariably,s islargerthank ,inagreementwiththeobservationthatwhenaforceis
largeenoughthatsomethingbreakslooseandstartstoslide,itoftenaccelerates.

Thefrictionalforceforsurfaceswithnorelativemotionistherefore

f
s
n
s
(validwhenthecontactingsurfaceshavenorelativemotion).

Theactualmagnitudeanddirectionofthestaticfrictionforcearesuchthatit(togetherwithotherforcesontheobject)causesthe
objecttoremainmotionlesswithrespecttothecontactingsurfaceaslongasthestaticfrictionforcerequireddoesnotexceed
n .Theequationf = nisvalidonlywhenthesurfacesareonthevergeofsliding.
s s s

PartA
Typesettingmath:100%
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10/4/2017 MasteringPhysics: Assignment 3 - Forces Part One

Thefrictionalforceisalwaysequaltok n .

Thefrictionalforceisalwayslessthank n .

Thefrictionalforceisdeterminedbyotherforcesontheobjectssoitcanbeeitherequaltoorlessthank n .

Correct

PartB
them,istrue?

Thefrictionalforceisalwaysequaltos n .

Thefrictionalforceisalwayslessthans n .

Thefrictionalforceisdeterminedbyotherforcesontheobjectssoitcanbeeitherequaltoorlessthans n .

Correct
Forstaticfriction,theactualmagnitudeanddirectionofthefrictionforcearesuchthatit,togetherwithanyotherforces
present,willcausetheobjecttohavetheobservedacceleration.Themagnitudeoftheforcecannotexceeds n .Ifthe
magnitudeofstaticfrictionneededtokeepaccelerationequaltozeroexceedss n ,thentheobjectwillslidesubjectto
theresistanceofkineticfriction.Donotautomaticallyassumethatf s = s nunlessyouareconsideringasituationin
whichthemagnitudeofthestaticfrictionforceisaslargeaspossible(i.e.,whendeterminingatwhatpointanobjectwill
justbegintoslip).Whethertheactualmagnitudeofthefrictionforceis0,lessthans n ,orequaltos n dependson
themagnitudeoftheotherforces(ifany)aswellastheaccelerationoftheobjectthrough F = ma.

PartC
Whenaboardwithaboxonitisslowlytiltedtolargerandlargerangle,commonexperienceshowsthattheboxwillatsome
point"breakloose"andstarttoacceleratedowntheboard.

TheboxbeginstoslideoncethecomponentofgravityactingparalleltotheboardFg justbeginstoexceedsthemaximum
forceofstaticfriction.Whichofthefollowingisthemostgeneralexplanationforwhytheboxacceleratesdowntheboard?

Typesettingmath:100%

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10/4/2017 MasteringPhysics: Assignment 3 - Forces Part One

Theforceofkineticfrictionissmallerthanthatofmaximumstaticfriction,butFg remainsthesame.

Oncetheboxismoving,Fg issmallerthantheforceofmaximumstaticfrictionbutlargerthantheforceofkinetic
friction.

Oncetheboxismoving,Fg islargerthantheforceofmaximumstaticfriction.

Whentheboxisstationary,Fg equalstheforceofstaticfriction,butoncetheboxstartsmoving,thesliding
reducesthenormalforce,whichinturnreducesthefriction.

Correct
Atthepointwhentheboxfinallydoes"breakloose,"youknowthatthecomponentofthebox'sweightthatisparallelto
theboardjustexceedss n (i.e.,thiscomponentofgravitationalforceontheboxhasjustreachedamagnitudesuch
thattheforceofstaticfriction,whichhasamaximumvalueofs n ,cannolongeropposeit.)Fortheboxtothen
accelerate,theremustbeanetforceontheboxalongtheboard.Thus,thecomponentofthebox'sweightparallelto
theboardmustbegreaterthantheforceofkineticfriction.Thereforetheforceofkineticfrictionk n mustbelessthan
theforceofstaticfrictions n whichimpliesk < s ,asexpected.

PartD

n = Mg

n = M g cos()

Mg
n=
cos()

isfoundusing F = M a

Correct
ThekeypointisthatcontactforcesmustbedeterminedfromNewton'sequation.Intheproblemdescribedabove,there