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Sam and Denzel

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Sam and Denzel are standing on an ice rink and they decide to push off one another. Sam accelerates to the left at a rate of 2m/S^2 and Denzel accelerates to the right at a rate of 3.2m/S^2. Use Newton's 2nd and 3rd laws to explain who has the greater mass.

a. Newton's 2nd Law-

b. Newton's 3rd Law-
asked Dec 23, 2013 in Physical Science by BerryIP (350 points)

1 Answer

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From Newton's 3rd Law, the forces applied on both Sam and Denzel have the same magnitude but are in opposite directions.

With Newton's 2nd Law, ||F_net=ma||. Assume the pushing forces are the only forces between these two persons and we ignore frictional forces. With the same magnitude of the net force, the one who has smaller acceleration would have the greater mass and vice versa. So Sam will have a greater acceleration.

In addition, we can even find the ratio between the accelerations of Sam and Denzel, which should be 3.2:2=1.6:1.
answered Dec 23, 2013 by PhysicsDude (21,750 points)
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