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Solving problems is an essential part of the understanding process.

Questions and their answers are presented here in the module text format as if it were an extension of the treatment of the topic. The idea is to provide a verbose explanation, detailing the application of theory. Solution presented is, therefore, treated as the part of the understanding process – not merely a Q/A session. The emphasis is to enforce ideas and concepts, which can not be completely absorbed unless they are put to real time situation.

Representative problems and their solutions

We discuss problems, which highlight certain aspects of the study leading to unbalanced force system. The questions are categorized in terms of the characterizing features of the subject matter :

  • Nature of force
  • Motion under gravity
  • Combined motion
  • Constrained motion

Nature of force

Problem 1 : A pendulum bob oscillates between extreme positions in a vertical plane. The string connected to the bob is cut, when it is at one of the extreme points. What would be the trajectory of the bob after getting disconnected?

Solution : This question emphasizes two important aspects of force. First, force has no past or future. It means that when force is removed, its effect is over. Second, if the body is at rest, then motion (velocity) of the body is in the direction of applied force.


When the string is cut, pendulum bob is at the extreme position and its velocity is zero. The tension in the string immediately disappears as the string is cut. At that instant, the only force on the pendulum bob is force due to gravity i.e. "mg", which acts in vertically downward direction. Thus, pendulum bob has straight trajectory in the downward direction.

Motion under gravity

Problem 2 : With what minimum acceleration a person should slide down a hanging rope, whose breaking strength is 2/3 rd of his weight?

Solution : The breaking strength of rope is less than the weight of the person. As such, the rope will break, if the person simply hangs on the rope. It is, therefore, required that the person should climb down with acceleration greater than a minimum value so that tension in the rope is less than its breaking strength.

Let the person is sliding down with an acceleration, "a". The forces on the person are (i) tension in upward direction and (ii) weight of the person in downward direction. The free body diagram of the person sliding down the rope is shown here.

Free body diagram

F y = m g - T = m a T = m g - m a

According to question, the limiting value of tension in the rope is :

T = 2 m g 3

Putting the value of limiting tension in the equation of analysis, we have :

2 m g 3 = m g - m a a = g - 2 g 3 = g 3

Problem 3 : Two small spheres of same dimensions “A” and “B” of mass “M” and “m” (M>m) respectively are in free fall from the same height against air resistance “F”. Then, which of the spheres has greater acceleration?

Solution : The free body diagrams of the two bodies are shown in the figure. Let a 1 and a 2 be the accelerations of “A” and “B” blocks respectively. The force analysis in y-direction is as given here :

Questions & Answers

List the application of projectile
Luther Reply
How can we take advantage of our knowledge about motion?
Kenneth Reply
pls explain what is dimension of 1in length and -1 in time ,what's is there difference between them
Mercy Reply
what are scalars
Abdhool Reply
show that 1w= 10^7ergs^-1
Lawrence Reply
what's lamin's theorems and it's mathematics representative
Yusuf Reply
if the wavelength is double,what is the frequency of the wave
Ekanem Reply
What are the system of units
Jonah Reply
A stone propelled from a catapult with a speed of 50ms-1 attains a height of 100m. Calculate the time of flight, calculate the angle of projection, calculate the range attained
Samson Reply
58asagravitasnal firce
water boil at 100 and why
isaac Reply
what is upper limit of speed
Riya Reply
what temperature is 0 k
0k is the lower limit of the themordynamic scale which is equalt to -273 In celcius scale
How MKS system is the subset of SI system?
Clash Reply
which colour has the shortest wavelength in the white light spectrum
Mustapha Reply
how do we add
Jennifer Reply
if x=a-b, a=5.8cm b=3.22 cm find percentage error in x
Abhyanshu Reply
x=5.8-3.22 x=2.58

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Source:  OpenStax, Physics for k-12. OpenStax CNX. Sep 07, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10322/1.175
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