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1. Hey, a bit confused on this question as the book does not explain how to work out similar questions.

'A horse pulls a barge of mass 5000kg along a canal using a rope 10m long. The rope is attached to a point on the barge 2m from the bank. As the barge starts to move, the tension in the rope is 500N. Calculate the barge's initial acceleration parallel to the bank.'

Thanks for any help, in advance.
2. If you draw yourself a diagram, you'll have a little triangle - you have this barge, 2m away from the bank, attached to a 10m long rope. So you have the hypotenuse as 10m and one of the sides as 2m. You can then work out the angle between the rope and 'forwards' (i.e. the way you would want the boat to travel, or the way the horse walks), and so you can split this tension into components - parallel to the bank and perpendicular to it. Then it's just Newton's second law.

Is that clear? Doesn't sound it. But it is if you draw a diagram.
3. Thanks for the help, but wouldn't the hypotenuse be 8m, if the total length of the rope is 10m?
4. (Original post by yellowputty)
Thanks for the help, but wouldn't the hypotenuse be 8m, if the total length of the rope is 10m?
No.
The length of the rope is 10m. That is what we shall call the hypotenuse. The opposite is the rope having to go horizonally 2m over water.
5. See attached.
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