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This is the question I got really confused over:

enter image description here

I tried drawing the free body diagram of the sphere on the left.

enter image description here

Now if we let the angle between the vertical plane and $N_1$ be $\theta$, this implies $$N_1\sin(\theta)=N_2$$

It seems from the diagram that since the radius of the cup is $3r$, $\sin(\theta)=\frac{1}{3}$.

That would mean the ratio of the two forces is $3$.

But it seems that the answer is $2$.

Can you tell me what was wrong with my approach or what is the right approach to this problem?

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closed as off-topic by Feynmans Out for Grumpy Cat, G. Smith, user197851, tpg2114 May 18 at 12:09

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Homework-like questions should ask about a specific physics concept and show some effort to work through the problem. We want our questions to be useful to the broader community, and to future users. See our meta site for more guidance on how to edit your question to make it better" – Feynmans Out for Grumpy Cat, G. Smith, Community, tpg2114
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi Abi Nand! Welcome to Physics SE. A couple of things: One is not supposed to paste pictures of whole questions--it is fine to paste relevant diagrams as pictures but reproduce the rest of the question as text. Also, for mathematical expressions, one is supposed to use MathJax. Cheers! :) $\endgroup$ – Feynmans Out for Grumpy Cat May 18 at 3:19
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    $\begingroup$ Apart from the formatting issues that I pointed out in my previous comment, please notice that you should ask a question that is really a question about physics, i.e., some conceptual point that you might be confused about. Your current question is simply asking one to figure out what is wrong with your solution as it doesn't seem to match the answer provided in the book it seems. Thus, I am voting to close the question. $\endgroup$ – Feynmans Out for Grumpy Cat May 18 at 3:25
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    $\begingroup$ sin theta= 1/2. $\endgroup$ – Ishan Jawale May 18 at 3:27
  • $\begingroup$ Ishan Jawale - How is sin theta = 1/2. The radius of the cup is 3r and the radius of the ball is r. $\endgroup$ – Abi Nand May 18 at 3:37
  • $\begingroup$ The radius of the cup may be $3r$, but note the right angle triangle that has one of its points through the centre of one sphere (not the point where the sphere makes contact with the cup) $\endgroup$ – SprocketsAreNotGears May 18 at 8:15
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Read the question without looking at the misleading diagram. $3r$ isn't the distance from the origin of each sphere to the origin of the cup. $3r$ is the distance from the origin of the cup to the points where each sphere touches the cup. That's $r$ longer than the distance from the origin of the cup to the origin of each sphere. The distance from the origin of the cup to the origin of each sphere is merely $2r$.

The diagram is drawn with incorrect proportions. The spheres are drawn too small relative to the cup. If you redraw the picture with correct proportions from your imagination, without looking at the misleading diagram, you'll find that the distance from the origin of a sphere to the origin of the cup is a mere $2r$. Thus the answer is 2.

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