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Inclined Planes

Inclined Planes

Wedge - ColorIntroduction: In our everyday lives, the use of inclined planes makes it easier to move heavy or fragile objects. This is because inclined planes consist of a plane that is inclined at an angle to the horizontal. In general, moving an object up an inclined plane requires less energy than does lifting up or moving the object all at once.

Moving an object up an inclined plane only requires a consistent force to keep it moving up the incline. Conversely, when the object is moving down the incline, the object will decline much more slowly than if it were just dropped. The slope determines the mechanical advantage, or the amplification in the amount of force that is obtained using this incline. The equation for the slope is found using the following equation:

[math]theta=tan^-1({Rise}/{Run})[/math], where [math]theta="angle to the horizontal"[/math]

Aside from the equation for slope, it is worth noting what happens to the normal and the gravitational forces. Gravitational force, despite the fact that the object is on an incline, will point straight down towards the ground. On the other hand, the normal force will be directed at an angle on incline, since the normal force is always directed perpendicular to the surface that it is on.


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