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Work and ramps

  1. Mar 25, 2010 #1
    I'm not quite getting this.

    Say we lift a block of weight 10N through a vertical height of 1 metre. So the work done is 10 x 1 = 10J. This 10J equals the g.p.e. Of the block.

    Now we pull the block up the same height of 1 metre but along a smooth, straight ramp (no friction between block and ramp surface) for a sloping distance 5 metres. The force is acting parallel to the surface of the ramp.

    At the end of the pulling up the ramp the block still has a g.p.e. of 10J. So we can work out the force required to pull the block = g.p.e gained / horizontal distance moved = 10 / 5 = 2N

    But I feel I am cutting fast and loose to use the g.p.e which is gained by vertical motion to calculate a force in a horizontal (or at least sloping) direction. It just doesn't feel valid to me. What am I missing? Sorry question is a bit vague but that reflects my view on this.


  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 25, 2010 #2

    Doc Al

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Try calculating the force required parallel to the ramp to just overcome gravity: F = mg sinθ

    Use that to figure out the work done and compare that to the increase in gravitational potential energy.
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