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Three forces Weight (mg), Normal reaction, R and Friction ,T act on a particle on an inclined plane. The resultant of these three forces is shown as the vector in orange. Adjust the three forces so that the system is in equilibrium. When you have produced a situation of equilibrium, compare the ratio of T/R with tan (the angle of the slope).
Please enable Java for an interactive construction (with Cinderella).

Downloadable Files

If your computer is set up with Geometers Sketchpad 4 then you can download this file to investigate forces along a slope problems further.
Sketchpad - forces01Sketchpad - forces01
Investigate forces further using Geometer's Sketchpad

Software/Applets used on this page

Cinderella
Uses Cinderella interactive geometry

Glossary

equilibrium

the state of an object when the vector sum of all forces acting on it is zero and when the algebraic sum of the moments of the forces about any point is zero

friction

whenever two rough surfaces are in contact, this force, F acts in the direction to oppose motion.

normal reaction

Gravity exerts a downward force on you and the Earth exerts this upward force on you to balance the force of gravity, usually denoted by R.

particle

an object with negligible size and internal structure, which can be represented by a point; the fundamental assumption in mechanics.

slope

the angle between a straight line and the horizontal.

vector

A mathematical object with magnitude and direction.

weight

a force which acts upon masses in a gravitational field. Near the surface of the Earth, the acceleration due to gravity is approximately constant; this means that an object's weight is roughly proportional to its mass. Weight and mass are fundamentally different quantities: mass is an intrinsic property of matter, whereas weight is a force that results from the action of gravity on matter: it measures how strongly gravity pulls on that matter.

Full Glossary List

This question appears in the following syllabi:

SyllabusModuleSectionTopicExam Year
AQA A-Level (UK - Pre-2017)M1StaticsForces as vectors-
AQA A2 Maths 2017MechanicsEquilibrium and ResolvingResolving Forces-
AQA AS/A2 Maths 2017MechanicsEquilibrium and ResolvingResolving Forces-
CCEA A-Level (NI)M1StaticsForces as vectors-
CIE A-Level (UK)M1StaticsForces as vectors-
Edexcel A-Level (UK - Pre-2017)M1StaticsForces as vectors-
Edexcel A2 Maths 2017MechanicsResolving Forces and FrictionResolving Forces-
Edexcel AS/A2 Maths 2017MechanicsResolving Forces and FrictionResolving Forces-
OCR A-Level (UK - Pre-2017)M1StaticsForces as vectors-
OCR A2 Maths 2017MechanicsResolving Forces and EquilibriumResolving Forces-
OCR MEI A2 Maths 2017MechanicsResolving Forces and EquilibriumResolving Forces-
OCR-MEI A-Level (UK - Pre-2017)M1StaticsForces as vectors-
Pre-U A-Level (UK)MechStaticsForces as vectors-
Universal (all site questions)SStaticsForces as vectors-
WJEC A-Level (Wales)M1StaticsForces as vectors-