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Exploration 11.3: Rolling Down an Incline




m = grams | θ = °

check to see energy  vs. position, then click set values and play.

Please wait for the animation to completely load.

A solid ball of radius 1.0 m rolls down an incline, as shown (position is given in meters and time is given in seconds). The incline makes an angle θ with the horizontal. Adjust the mass (100 g < m < 500 g) and/or the angle (10° < θ < 40°) and watch the graph of gravitational potential energy and rotational and translational kinetic energy vs. time or distance. Restart.

Change the angle and the mass of the ball to determine the answers to the following questions.

  1. What percent of the initial gravitational potential energy is converted into translational kinetic energy at the bottom of the hill?
  2. What percent of the initial gravitational potential energy is converted into rotational kinetic energy at the bottom of the hill?
  3. What is the ratio of KErot/KEtrans? What does this number correspond to?
  4. How does the ratio of KErot/KEtrans depend on the mass of the ball? On the angle of the incline?
  5. How would the animation change if the ball were replaced by a disk of the same radius?

Download PDF Worksheet

Exploration authored by Wolfgang Christian and Mario Belloni.
Script authored by Steve Mellema, Chuck Niederriter, and Mario Belloni.

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