Why Can’t a Magnet-Propelled Truck Actually Work?

Finally, we have the crane itself. I left off some of the unimportant forces here—the most critical are the forces from the magnet and the cart pulling in opposite directions.

All of these objects have a net force of zero. That’s the important part: With a zero net force, there will be a zero acceleration. These three objects that start with a velocity of zero will stay at zero. They won’t move. It won’t work.

I think part of the reason it’s hard to grasp why this won’t work is that you can’t directly see the attractive interaction between the magnet and the cart. That sort of makes it seem like

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