Mass Motion under a Variable Force

A cart of mass initially at rest at at time is attached to a mass hanging from a pulley. The pulley and the floor are assumed to be frictionless. The experiment gives a case of motion under a variable force because the angle varies with time. The resulting equation of motion has no simple analytic solution, so the solution is integrated numerically.
Plots of position , velocity , and acceleration versus time are shown.


  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]


The length of the table is and the height of the pulley is ; then, from the geometry of the problem, it can be shown that the equation of motion is
The tension is ; if , the cart does not lift off.
The initial conditions used here are , , , .
Problem taken from F. Y. Wang, Physics with MAPLE, Weinheim: Wiley-VCH, 2005.
    • Share:

Embed Interactive Demonstration New!

Just copy and paste this snippet of JavaScript code into your website or blog to put the live Demonstration on your site. More details »

Files require Wolfram CDF Player or Mathematica.