Inclined Planes Examples

Inclined Planes

An inclined plane 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. If viewed from the side, an inclined plane looks like a triangle. The surface of an inclined plane is at an angle against the horizontal surface. An inclined plane is often used in real life applications to make moving heavy or delicate objects easier. When moving an object up a plane, it requires a consistent force to keep it moving. This force, however, is much lower than having to lift the object all at once. When moving an object down an inclined plane, like a slide, the object will fall slower than if simply dropped. This becomes a much safer way to lower heavier objects. The cost of using an inclined plane is that the distance that must be traveled is further than that of lifting or dropping the object. Inclined planes make work easier by spreading the work out over a longer distance. As a result, the inclined plane became a simple tool used to maneuver heavy objects rather than lifting or lowering them.

Many other tools are based on the principles of the inclined pane using a triangular shaped object to reduce the force necessary to complete the work. Examples of these tools are the ax, wedge and chisel.

The first recorded use of inclined planes in construction happened around 2600 B.C. when ramps were used in the construction of the Great Pyramids. Later it was discovered that a frictionless ramp was even more mechanically advantageous. Also discovered was the energy exerted was lesser as the slope was lower as opposed to a higher degree of slope. Together with these variables, the ramp has continued to be the most common and most popular inclined planes in use today.

Examples of Inclined Planes:

1. Wheelchair ramps

A wheelchair ramp has become a necessary inclined plane in all of society. The wheelchair begins at a lower level and rather than being lifted up to the higher level, a ramp is used to push the wheelchair up. The distance needed to push the wheelchair becomes further, but the force and energy needed to maneuver the wheelchair becomes less. The same principle is used while using loading ramps to load trucks, planes and trains.

2. Slides

A slide is another example of an inclined plane. Although largely used for recreational purposes, the slide is an inclined plane also used to lower heavy objects to a flat surface. Rather than dropping the object, it is slowly descended down the slide with less energy used and also a much safer result.

3. Stairs

Stairs are inclined planes. In order to get to a higher level or another floor in a building or home, stairs become a plane traveled to accommodate the climb. Less energy is needed to walk the stairs than it would takes to climb up. Similarly, escalators are inclined planes that propel a person or object up a distance without exerting energy. Merely ride the inclined plane to the desired height and exit.

4. Waterslides

A person climbs to the top and using the slippery water surface, that person accelerates themselves down the plane at exciting speeds. The greater the inclined angle, the greater a speed is achieved. The whole purpose is to enjoy the excitement of the acceleration and distance traveled on the inclined plane.

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