Friday, May 3, 2013

Simple machine: inclined plane

I got sidetracked from my series on simple machines. The next classical machine is perhaps the simplest of all, the humble inclined plane - a flat surface set at an angle connecting levels at different heights. I can see why some might not refer to a ramp as a 'machine,' but it fits the definition of changing the direction or magnitude of some force. When you push forward on a load sitting on the inclined plane, the slope of the surface translates part of that force into upward motion. Also, as anyone who's ever moved some heavy furniture into a U-Haul knows, it takes less force to move something along a ramp than it does to move it straight upward. You don't get something for nothing, though. To get this advantage you have to move the load over a longer distance, as the ultimate amount of work (force times distance) is the same. We see this in action in a moving truck by DadventureDan.

No comments:

Post a Comment