Suggested languages for you:

Americas

Europe

Q6CQ

Expert-verified
Found in: Page 588

College Physics (Urone)

Book edition 1st Edition
Author(s) Paul Peter Urone
Pages 1272 pages
ISBN 9781938168000

As you pass a freight truck with a trailer on a highway, you notice that its trailer is bouncing up and down slowly. Is it more likely that the trailer is heavily loaded or nearly empty? Explain your answer.

The trailer is more likely to be heavily loaded rather than nearly empty and so it is bouncing up and down slowly.

See the step by step solution

Step 1: Relation between frequency and mass in a periodic motion

The frequency of a periodic motion is given as follows,

$${\rm{f = }}\frac{{\rm{1}}}{{{\rm{2}}\pi }}\sqrt {\left( {\frac{{\rm{k}}}{{\rm{m}}}} \right)}$$

Here, $${\rm{k}}$$ is the spring constant and $${\rm{m}}$$ is the mass of the system.

Step 2: Explanation of the given situation of the freight truck with a trailer

It is observed from the expression of the frequency, that the frequency is inversely proportional to the mass of the system. So, if the system is heavy, it will vibrate with less frequency which means it will oscillate slowly.

As mentioned in the question, the trailer of the truck is bouncing up and down slowly, which means it is vibrating with less frequency. Since less frequency indicates heavy mass, so the trailer is more likely to be heavily loaded rather than nearly empty.