Exploration 13.3: Distributed Load

Please wait for the animation to completely load.

A box sits on a board of negligible weight. Two supports exert forces on the left and right ends of the board (position is given in meters). The arrows represent the relative sizes of the two force vectors, but their length does not represent their actual magnitudes. Restart.

  1. How does the force of each support on the board depend on where the box is located? You can drag the box from left to right to view the forces of the supports on the board.

Suppose the box is exactly halfway between the center and the right support.

  1. What is the ratio of the magnitude of the force of the right support on the board to the magnitude of the force of the left support on the board?

Consider a situation in which the board has significant weight.

  1. What then might the force vectors look like when the box is sitting above one of the supports, say for example the left support? Check using Animation 2.
  2. What is the ratio of the weight of the board to the weight of the box in this case?

Download PDF Worksheet

Exploration authored by Aaron Titus.

Physlets were developed at Davidson College and converted from Java to JavaScript using the SwingJS system developed at St. Olaf College.

OSP Projects:
Open Source Physics - EJS Modeling
Physlet Physics
Physlet Quantum Physics
STP Book