The Normal Force on an Inclined Plane

The Normal Force on an Inclined Plane - Figure %: Free Body...

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The Normal Force on an Inclined Plane The normal force becomes more complex, however, in situations where forces are not perpendicular to the plane. Consider the case of a block resting on an inclined plane, or a ramp. In this instance, the gravitational force on the block is not perpendicular to the plane. In order to calculate the normal force for this situation we must find the component of the gravitational force that is perpendicular to the plane. We do so by breaking down the force vector into two components (see Vectors, Heading ): one parallel to the plane and one perpendicular to the plane. The normal force thus has equal magnitude and opposite direction of the component of the gravitational force that is perpendicular to the inclined plane. Using a free body diagram, all of these forces can be displayed, and the resultant motion can be predicted:
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Unformatted text preview: Figure %: Free Body Diagram of an Inclined Plane What does our free body diagram predict? To find out we analyze all forces acting upon the object. The perpendicular gravitational force ( F cos ) cancels exactly with the normal force ( F N ), as we expected, and we are left with one force, the parallel gravitational force ( F sin ), which points down the plane. Thus the block will accelerate down the incline. Such a prediction seems to fit with our intuition: a block placed on an inclined plane will simply slide down the plane. The normal force thus applies to a variety of situations. Though most commonly used with flat and inclined planes, the normal force applies in any situation in which a force is exerted on an object by direct contact from another object....
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This note was uploaded on 02/09/2012 for the course PHY PHY2053 taught by Professor Davidjudd during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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