A student recently wrote us asking about this question: Based on the answer explanation, it seems that the force would be 3.75 N regardless of which block was designated, and "second from right" plays no role in determining the answer. Is this true, or am I misinterpreting this? In other words, does each block experience the same force?
This is correct -- the force would be 3.75 N regardless of which block was designated in this case. Note that this is due to the fact that each block is the same mass. Because the acceleration must be equal (they are connected), which we can notate as a1 = a2 = a3 = a4, that means that force divided by mass must be the same as well (f1/m1 = f2/m2 = f3/m3 = f4/m4). Because all of the masses are equal, the forces must be equal as well in order to maintain the same acceleration.
If the masses were different, then the forces would have to be different in order to ensure the acceleration remained the same for all of the blocks.
I hope this helps!
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