What is an inclined plane?
An inclined plane is a flat surface tilted at an angle used as an aid for raising or lowering a load. An example of an inclined plane is a part of a towing bed.
You’re driving home from a concert in the middle of the night and your car suddenly breaks down. Because it's so late, no tow trucks are able to come, so you call your friend who has a truck and a towing bed. He arrives and you have to figure out how to get the car on the towing bed and tow it home.
- You and your friend begin to push the car up the towing bed and suddenly your friend stops pushing and the car retracts. Why is it necessary that someone is in the car to successfully get the car on the tow bed?
- Your friend gets in the car and you begin pushing by yourself. You find that it is extremely hard, and not just because of it’s weight. What could your friend be doing in the car that is making it even harder?
- Finally, a car drives by. The driver sees that you’re having trouble and gets out to help. He looks very strong and you know that you will be able to get the car on the towing bed with his help. He and you push as hard as you can to get it up and you finally succeed. What would be different about this if the towing bed did not have an inclined plane?
- How would the situation be better if you were able to start the car?