Inclined Planes: Heavier Can Go Farther?

In summary, two cans of different weights will accelerate at the same rate down a ramp. However, when they reach the flat land, the heavier can may roll farther due to less air resistance and potentially less rolling resistance. This is because air resistance is based on surface area and rolling resistance is affected by deformation and heat within the can. However, the distribution of mass within the cans and the presence of liquids can also affect their performance.
  • #1
cragar
2,552
3
this might be a dumb question , so if I roll 2 cans down a ramp one heavier than the other one they will obviously accelerate at the same rate but when they get to the flat land
will the heavier one go farther because it has more mass to over come the drag or because it has more kinetic energy or does it have something to do with rolling friction.
 
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  • #2
Hi cragar! :smile:

Should be more or less the same …

air resistance depends on surface area, so if the cans are the same size, the heavier one will be slowed less …

rolling resistance (not friction) depends mainly on deformation of the can, and on heat generated by whatever's sloshing around inside it, and that's a bit difficult to predict :redface:
 
  • #3
so in general the heavier can should roll farther . if it is the same volume.
 
  • #4
Maybe

I wouldn't bet on it, though. :wink:
 
  • #5
okay , thanks for your answer .
 
  • #6
Be careful on selecting the cans. If one can is nearly full of a liquid, like chicken soup, there are internal frictional losses. Also, if one can has most of its mass close to the maximum radius, and the other uniformly distributed, the former would have twice the moment of inertia per unit mass (I/m) of the latter, which will reduce the acceleration rate down the ramp.
 

1. How does an inclined plane work?

An inclined plane is a simple machine that consists of a sloping surface with one end higher than the other. When an object is placed on the higher end and allowed to slide down, the force of gravity helps to move the object along the surface. This makes it easier to lift the object to a higher position compared to lifting it straight up.

2. Can a heavier object go farther on an inclined plane?

Yes, a heavier object can go farther on an inclined plane compared to a lighter object. This is because the force of gravity acting on the heavier object is greater, which in turn provides more potential energy to overcome the resistance of the surface and friction, allowing the object to travel a longer distance.

3. What factors affect the distance an object can travel on an inclined plane?

The distance an object can travel on an inclined plane is affected by the angle of the incline, the weight of the object, and the amount of friction present. The steeper the incline, the shorter the distance the object will travel. A heavier object will travel farther than a lighter object, and the presence of friction will also decrease the distance the object can travel.

4. Can an object ever roll back up an inclined plane?

An object can only roll back up an inclined plane if it has enough initial force or energy to overcome the force of gravity and friction. This can be achieved by placing the object on a higher starting point or by adding external force, such as pushing or pulling the object.

5. What are some real-life applications of inclined planes?

Inclined planes are used in many everyday objects and machines, such as ramps, staircases, and slides. They are also used in construction for moving heavy objects, such as building materials, to higher levels. Inclined planes are also utilized in transportation, such as roads and highways that are built on hilly terrains, as well as roller coasters and other amusement park rides.

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