# How Does Moving Closer to the Fulcrum Affect Teeter-Totter Balance?

• odie5533
In summary, when a heavy person and a light person are balanced on a teeter-totter and both move towards the fulcrum, the light person's end will go down due to the difference in their distances from the fulcrum. This is because the lighter person's greater distance has a greater effect on the balance of the teeter-totter.
odie5533

## Homework Statement

Suppose that a heavy person and a light person are balanced on a teeter-totter made of a plank of wood. Each person now moves toward the fulcrum a distance of 25 cms. What effect will this have on the balance of the teeter-totter?
A) The heavy person's end will go down
B) The teeter-totter will remain in balance
C) The light person's end will go down
D) One cannot tell whether either end will rise or fall without knowing the relative mass of the plank
E) Only if the plank has significant mass will the light person's end go down

## The Attempt at a Solution

Since the teeter-totter is initially in balance, the center of gravity is right on the fulcrum. When they move in, the lighter person's end will go down since being that it is in balance they are at different distances from the fulcrum. The lighter person, being farther away, will have a greater effect than the closer heavier person, so C, the lighter person's end will go down.

I'm not at all sure if this is right

Yes, correct.

Your response is correct. As you mentioned, the teeter-totter is initially in balance because the center of gravity is right on the fulcrum. When the two individuals move towards the fulcrum, the center of gravity shifts towards the heavier person's side. This causes the lighter person's end to go down, as they are now farther away from the center of gravity. This is due to the principle of moments, where the heavier person has a greater effect on the balance due to their closer distance to the fulcrum. Therefore, the correct answer is C, the lighter person's end will go down.

## 1. What is the "Teeter-Totter Problem"?

The "Teeter-Totter Problem" is a physics problem that involves a seesaw or teeter-totter in which two people of different weights are balanced at different distances from the fulcrum.

## 2. How is the "Teeter-Totter Problem" solved?

The "Teeter-Totter Problem" is solved by using the principle of moments, which states that the total clockwise moment is equal to the total counterclockwise moment. This can be represented by the equation M1d1 = M2d2, where M1 and M2 are the weights of the two individuals and d1 and d2 are their respective distances from the fulcrum.

## 3. What factors affect the balance of a teeter-totter?

The balance of a teeter-totter is affected by the weights of the individuals, their distances from the fulcrum, and the distribution of their weight on the seesaw. The position of the fulcrum and the length of the seesaw also play a role in the balance.

## 4. Can the "Teeter-Totter Problem" be applied to real-life situations?

Yes, the "Teeter-Totter Problem" can be applied to real-life situations such as balancing a seesaw on a playground or balancing weight on a lever in engineering and construction projects.

## 5. What are some strategies for solving the "Teeter-Totter Problem"?

Some strategies for solving the "Teeter-Totter Problem" include using a ruler or protractor to measure distances, drawing a diagram to visualize the problem, and using trial and error to find a balanced solution. Additionally, understanding the principle of moments and how to apply it can also help in solving the problem.

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