Micheal is pulling a mass of 30 kg up an incline which makes an angle of 26° with the horizontal.
The mass has an upward acceleration of 2.5 m/s2 and the coefficient of kinetic friction between the mass and the incline is 0.58.
What is the magnitude of the pulling force Micheal is exerting?
As usual, we begin by drawing a sketch of what we think is happening.
We draw an incline that makes an angle of 26° with the horizontal, a mass on it, and indicate that the mass is pulled upwards, has an acceleration directed upwards, and is subject to the force of friction:
Looking at the sketch, we can infer that 4 forces are acting on the mass:
Let's draw a free body diagram of the mass:
This is what we know: the mass (30 kg), the angle that the incline makes with the horizontal (26°), the acceleration of the mass (2.5 m/s2), and the coefficient of kinetic friction (0.58).
We need to find the force exerted by Micheal.
Since we know the mass and the acceleration, we can find the magnitude of the resultant force by applying Newton's 2nd Law:
Now that we determined the resultant force acting on the mass, we can find F using the following strategy:
Let's begin with the first step of our strategy, by drawing the coordinate axes on our free-body diagram. For convenience, we choose the x axis to be in the direction of motion. Then, we determine the x and y components of all the forces that act on the mass:
And we find the components of the resultant force as a sum of the components of all the forces:
The next step is to determine Rx and Ry by decomposing R:
First of all, R has the same direction as the acceleration of the mass, i.e. the positive x direction:
Now, let's substitute these values in Eq. (1) and Eq. (2), respectively:
We have two equations with 3 unknowns: F, Ff, N.
To find F, we need to reduce the number of unknowns to 2.
We can do that by remembering that the magnitude of the friction force is:
We already know the value of the coefficient of kinetic friction μ. Therefore, Eq. (3) becomes:
At this point, we have two equations, Eq. (4) and Eq. (5), with two unknowns, F and N, so we can easily solve them.
Let's solve Eq. (4) for N:
And substitute it in Eq. (5):
Hence, Micheal is pulling the mass with a force of 360 N.