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# POGIL: Forces and Free Body Diagrams When answering the question Why do things move the way

they do?, it is helpful to draw a diagram showing all the force vectors that act on an object. To do this we will need to know what kinds of forces are possible. In this activity, we will review some types of forces and then familiarize ourselves with free body diagrams. Normal Forces 1. Observe a book resting on a table. One of the forces acting on it is gravity, pulling it downward. (a) What must be the net force on the book? Justify your answer.

(b) Suppose the book weighs 15 N. This means that the Earth is pulling the book downward with a gravitational force of 15 N. i. There must be a second force acting on the book. Why?

ii. What must be the magnitude and direction of the second force that pushes on the book?

(c) Forces must always be exerted by some object. What object exerts the force you determined in part (b)?

If done correctly, the force you have discovered here is called a normal force. It is the force exerted perpendicular to two surfaces due to their pressing against each other. Recall from your geometry class that the term normal means perpendicular, hence the name of this contact force. Free Body Diagrams Take a moment to review the following types of forces: gravity: the attractive force between two masses; the weight of an object is the gravitational force exerted on it by the planet on which the object resides normal force: the force exerted between two surfaces when pressed against each other; its direction is perpendicular to the surfaces tension: the force with which a rope or other material pulls on an object friction: the force that resists sliding between surfaces when they are in contact; it is parallel to the surfaces

## Imagine a 10 kg block sitting on a table, as in the following diagram.

10 kg

block table

We will now draw the block by itself with some vectors that show the directions of the forces acting on the block. N is the normal force vector and w is the gravitational force vector (i.e. the blocks weight). N This type of diagram is called a free-body diagram. Every force is represented by an arrow showing the direction of the force and each force is labeled. If tension and friction are acting on the object (note that they are NOT acting in this example), we typically label them with T and Ffr, respectively. w 2. If the 10 kg box in the example above is at rest, find: (a) the acceleration of the box

## (c) the gravitational force on the box

(d) the magnitude and direction of the normal force on the box

3. Suppose the 10 kg box in the example above is moving at a constant velocity of 2 m/s, 0. Find: (a) the acceleration of the box

## (b) the net force on the box

(c) the magnitude and direction of the normal force on the box

4. Now imagine dragging the 10 kg box along the ground to the right with a rope. The force you exert is 50 N, 0. Suppose that friction is acting with a magnitude of 20 N of force between the box and tabletop. (a) Draw a free-body diagram of the box below. Label each force with an appropriate algebraic symbol.

(b) Determine the magnitude and direction of the normal force on the box.

(c) Determine the magnitude and direction of the net force on the box.

(d) Determine the magnitude and direction of the acceleration of the box.

(e) Is the box speeding up, slowing down, or moving at a constant speed? Justify your answer.

5. Now imagine dragging the 10 kg box to the right with a rope that is at an angle to the horizontal. The force you exert is 50 N, 30. Suppose that friction is acting with a magnitude of 20 N of force between the box and tabletop. (a) Draw a free-body diagram of the box below. Label each force with an appropriate algebraic symbol.

(b) Determine the magnitude and direction of the normal force on the box.

(c) Why is the normal force less than that found in question 4?

(d) Determine the magnitude and direction of the net force on the box.

(e) Determine the magnitude and direction of the acceleration of the box.

(f) Is the box speeding up, slowing down, or moving at a constant speed? Justify your answer.