SAT® Subject Test in Physics

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Cracking a Nut

SATPHY-YK0LJQ

Below is a diagram showing two blocks of masses $M$ and $2M$ with a nut of negligible mass between them. The masses are on a frictionless surface.

If you wanted to crack open the nut by applying a force to one of the blocks (the two possibilities are shown), to which block should you apply your force to create the greatest force on the nut, and how many times bigger would your force be by choosing this mass over the other?

A

It does not make a difference to which block you apply your force. Applying the force to the red block will cause the same force on the nut as applying the force to the blue block.

B

You should apply your force to the red block. Applying force to the red block will create twice as much force on the nut as applying force to the blue block.

C

You should apply your force to the blue block. Applying force to the blue block will create twice as much force on the nut as applying force to the red nut.

D

You should apply your force to the red block. Applying force to the red block will create three times as much force on the nut as applying force to the blue block.

E

You should apply my force to the blue block. Applying force to the blue block will create three times as much force on the nut as applying force to the red block.