The Story of
the Automaton

Putting It In Motion...

For Teachers

For Students

For Reference

Some examples of an inclined plane are the playground slide, steps, a ski jump, and a wheelchair ramp. An inclined plane is a flat surface set at an angle (other than a right angle) against a horizontal surface. An inclined plane is a simple machine with no moving parts. It is simply a straight slanted surface.

The inclined plane permits you to overcome a large resistance by applying a relatively small force through a longer distance than the load is to be raised. The steeper the slant, the more work it takes to go up the inclined plane. As the slant of an inclined plane decreases, the mechanical advantage increases. It takes less force to raise the object, but the object must move through a longer distance.

Consider the steps you climb at school or in your home. They help you move from a lower level to a higher level by cutting a little space into the incline to make it easier for you to use. Can you imagine how hard you would have to work to climb a ramp as steep as your stairway?

When designing motion machines you must be aware of gravity at work with inclined planes. An object rolling down a ramp will gain speed. Inclined planes can also be used in reverse to slow things down to a stop. Inclined planes can be used to raise or lower objects and as a way to gain or lose momentum. Try this experiment to help you understand.