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Inclined planes?

  1. May 19, 2009 #1
    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.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 19, 2009 #2


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    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:
  4. May 19, 2009 #3
    so in general the heavier can should roll farther . if it is the same volume.
  5. May 19, 2009 #4


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    I wouldn't bet on it, though. :wink:
  6. May 19, 2009 #5
    okay , thanks for your answer .
  7. May 19, 2009 #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.
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