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Tug-of-War


guitarfrk451
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Ok..so I'm in physics and having an argument with my teacher about inertia. He says that in a game of tug-of-war that it has nothing to do with the force, because newtons laws says that its equal no matter what..that part i get and agree with..well there's no agreeing it's correct..anyways so he says the only way to win is to have more friction than that of the other side..this is the part where the arguement comes in. Ok..does inertia affect this, or is it really just ALL friction. I agree with him, but I do think that inertia has something to do with it.

 

-Matt

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Let's say you have two teams: Little Guys and Big Guys.

 

The Big Guys have more inertia. They'll take more to get them to get pulled into losing but they also have (generally) more strength to create a net force on the rope in their favor.

 

I would guess that even if the Little Guys dug heel divots into the dirt they'd still loose to the Big Guys. To me it doesn't seem like a friction thing as much as inertia and more importantly FORCE.

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1/ friction is force, both of you don't seem to realise this. the more friction you have with the ground the more force you can impart on the rope.

 

2/ inertia is only going to come into it when you are determining how quickly the other team will accelerate from the force on the rope. big people will accelerate slower.

 

3/ the newtons third law thing, yes the forces all cancel out in the grand scheme of things but there is a force on the rope. if you cannot generate enough force to at least equal it(but in the opposite direction) you're going to lose. if you can generate a larger force you will win.

 

to some up, force determines if you will win, inertia determines how fast the losers are going to lose once they start losing.

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to some up, force determines if you will win, inertia determines how fast the losers are going to lose once they start losing.

 

Doesn't Newtons law say that there would be the same amount of tension on the rope though?

 

Nvm I see my mistake..

 

I would guess that even if the Little Guys dug heel divots into the dirt they'd still loose to the Big Guys. To me it doesn't seem like a friction thing as much as inertia and more importantly FORCE.

 

Friction does play a huge role on this.

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First of all, keep in mind that equal and opposite force applies to both sides only if it is not accelerating. Otherwise, the equal and opposite force will be the winning team's hands vs the accelerating rope.

 

Friction comes into play because to win you need to pull the other guys, or get them to let go. Inertia comes into play if the rope is pulled very fast, or if it is slippery. For example, on ice whoever has the most inertia will win, since they can pull the others more than the others can pull them. On solid ground, inertia gives you the advantage also, because gravity acts on mass and inertia is effectively the same thing. This means that for a given coefficient of friction, the team with more inertia will have more friction, and also if the lean to pull, they will pull harder since gravity will help them.

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  • 9 years later...

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