Inclined plane acceleration

  • Thread starter leonidas24
  • Start date
  • #1
leonidas24
13
0
Consider the classical physics problem of a cube sitting atop a frictionless inclined plane. Of course, this cube will accelerate down the plane with acceleration dictated by F = mgsin(theta), where theta is the angle between the inclined plane and the horizontal surface.

Easy enough.

Now, my question is this; if the inclined plane was itself sitting atop a frictionless, horizontal plane, would it too accelerate in some direction as the cube slides down its surface? In order to conserve momentum, for instance?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
sophiecentaur
Science Advisor
Gold Member
27,834
6,335
Just write out the force equation and that should do it. Have faith, my lad! Physics works.
 
  • #3
jack action
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
2,645
5,512
The cube would have a simple vertical free fall and the inclined plane would move out of its way as the cube goes down since it doesn't have any restriction.
 
  • #4
Doc Al
Mentor
45,462
1,951
Now, my question is this; if the inclined plane was itself sitting atop a frictionless, horizontal plane, would it too accelerate in some direction as the cube slides down its surface? In order to conserve momentum, for instance?
Of course.

The cube would have a simple vertical free fall and the inclined plane would move out of its way as the cube goes down since it doesn't have any restriction.
The cube is not in free fall. The incline exerts a force on it.
 
  • #5
sophiecentaur
Science Advisor
Gold Member
27,834
6,335
The cube and the ramp will move apart horizontally - Newton's Third Law - in addition to the cube moving vertically.
 

Suggested for: Inclined plane acceleration

Replies
12
Views
477
Replies
40
Views
1K
Replies
13
Views
1K
Replies
5
Views
722
Replies
41
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
332
Replies
9
Views
395
Replies
4
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
7
Views
1K
Replies
22
Views
2K
Top