Newton’s Second Law describes the relationship between the total force F acting on the object of mass m, and a, the resulting acceleration of the object. For a cart of mass m1 on a friction-compensated track with a string attached over a pulley to a mass m2 (see Figure 1), the total force F on the entire system (cart and hanger) is the weight of the hanger,
F = m2g where g = 9.8 Nkg-1, the weight of 1 kg.
The object that is being accelerated is the combination of the cart and hanger. The total mass is therefore m1 + m2.
This experiment will investigate the relation between
the net force F = m2g,
the total mass m1 + m2,
and the measured acceleration a.