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In this image, a string is pulling on a cylinder and supposedly, friction acts towards the right. I’m just wondering why that’s the case. problem

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See.. This is a question of rolling motion. If you are given all the data you may solve it. Assume the direction of friction in any arbitrary direction whether in left or right. Solve the equations and if you come out with the friction as positive value your assumed direction is correct else opposite. This method is very very useful in mechanics section as I have experienced that all the questions are being done by this method. Go for it...

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  • $\begingroup$ Else you might also be able to find the direction of friction. Take it in a practical way. .. See when the force is applied the system rotates in clockwise direction so the friction must act backwards. $\endgroup$
    – Ankan G.
    Nov 21 '19 at 19:02
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First of all imagine what would happen without friction: the cylinder will rotate clockwise. Now put friction back. Can you see which direction it will act?

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