ZIMSEC O Level Combined Science Notes: Machines: The inclined plane

  • Is also known as a ramp
  • is a flat supporting surface tilted at an angle,
  • with one end higher than the other,
  • used as an aid for raising or lowering a load
  • Inclined planes are widely used to move heavy loads over vertical obstacles
  • examples vary from a ramp used to load goods into a truck,
  • to a person walking up a flight of stairs
  • Moving an object up an inclined plane requires less force than lifting it straight up
  • at a cost of an increase in the distance moved i.e.
  • The load has to through an increased distance than would otherwise would
  • have moved vertically
  • As a result the load moves a greater distance
A flight of stairs is an example of an inclined plane

A flight of stairs is an example of an inclined plane

  • In an inclined plane the mechanical advantage is obtained using the formula:
  • \text{MA= }\dfrac{W}{F}
  • Where W is weight and F is force and MA stands for mechanical advantage
  • These are shown on the diagram above
  • Velocity ratio is obtained using the formula:
  • \text{VR= }\dfrac{d}{h}
  • Where h is the vertical distance of the inclined plane and
  • d is the distance moved by the load
  • θ is the angle of the plane
  • The smaller the angle of the inclined plane the smaller the effort required to move the load
  • The larger the distance the load must move

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