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Sliding Down an Inclined Plane Model
written by Wolfgang Christian
This interactive model displays a frictionless object sliding down an incline plane. The object can be a box, a sphere, or a car.  When the object reaches the bottom of the incline, it can be set to bounce (elastic collision) or stick (inelastic collision). The incline angle and the object's initial position can be changed by dragging.  Click on "plot" to view P/T and V/T graphs as the object slides. Click on "table" to see data on position and velocity displayed.

Editor's Note: This simulation is especially suitable for beginning learners, as it is confined to frictionless motion. See Related Materials for a somewhat more advanced version of the inclined plane model.  

The Sliding Down an Inclined Plane model was developed using the Easy Java Simulations (Ejs) modeling tool. Double clicking the ejs_mech_newton_SlidingOnInclinedPlane.jar file will run the program if Java is installed.

Please note that this resource requires at least version 1.5 of Java (JRE).
1 source code document is available
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Motion in One Dimension
= Acceleration
- Newton's Second Law
= Force, Acceleration
- Work and Energy
= Simple Machines
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Modeling
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Middle School
- Instructional Material
= Interactive Simulation
= Simulation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
Access Rights:
Free access
This material is released under a GNU General Public License Version 3 license.
Rights Holder:
Wolfgang Christian
elastic collision, gravitational acceleration, incline plane, inelastic collision
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created June 8, 2011 by Wolfgang Christian
Record Updated:
June 12, 2014 by Andreu Glasmann
Last Update
when Cataloged:
June 7, 2011
Other Collections:

just what I was looking for

Author: Gary
Posted: July 16, 2015 at 8:54AM
Source: The PSRC collection

wanted to see a simulation that compared a rolling sphere and a frictionless point particle down an inclined plane and this was just the thing (despite its name, which implies that it doesn't do the tolling case)

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AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4E. Energy Transformations
  • 9-12: 4E/H1. Although the various forms of energy appear very different, each can be measured in a way that makes it possible to keep track of how much of one form is converted into another. Whenever the amount of energy in one place diminishes, the amount in other places or forms increases by the same amount.
4F. Motion
  • 6-8: 4F/M3a. An unbalanced force acting on an object changes its speed or direction of motion, or both.
  • 9-12: 4F/H7. In most familiar situations, frictional forces complicate the description of motion, although the basic principles still apply.
  • 9-12: 4F/H8. Any object maintains a constant speed and direction of motion unless an unbalanced outside force acts on it.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 6-8: 11B/M4. Simulations are often useful in modeling events and processes.
  • 6-8: 11B/M5. The usefulness of a model depends on how closely its behavior matches key aspects of what is being modeled. The only way to determine the usefulness of a model is to compare its behavior to the behavior of the real-world object, event, or process being modeled.
  • 9-12: 11B/H5. The behavior of a physical model cannot ever be expected to represent the full-scale phenomenon with complete accuracy, not even in the limited set of characteristics being studied. The inappropriateness of a model may be related to differences between the model and what is being modeled.
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
W. Christian, Computer Program SLIDING DOWN AN INCLINED PLANE MODEL, Version 1.0 (2011), WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=11236&DocID=2279).
W. Christian, Computer Program SLIDING DOWN AN INCLINED PLANE MODEL, Version 1.0 (2011), <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=11236&DocID=2279>.
APA Format
Christian, W. (2011). Sliding Down an Inclined Plane Model (Version 1.0) [Computer software]. Retrieved July 17, 2024, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=11236&DocID=2279
Chicago Format
Christian, Wolfgang. "Sliding Down an Inclined Plane Model." Version 1.0. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=11236&DocID=2279 (accessed 17 July 2024).
MLA Format
Christian, Wolfgang. Sliding Down an Inclined Plane Model. Vers. 1.0. Computer software. 2011. Java (JRE) 1.5. 17 July 2024 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=11236&DocID=2279>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Wolfgang Christian", Title = {Sliding Down an Inclined Plane Model}, Month = {June}, Year = {2011} }
Refer Export Format

%A Wolfgang Christian %T Sliding Down an Inclined Plane Model %D June 7, 2011 %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=11236&DocID=2279 %O 1.0 %O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Computer Program %A Christian, Wolfgang %D June 7, 2011 %T Sliding Down an Inclined Plane Model %7 1.0 %8 June 7, 2011 %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=11236&DocID=2279

Disclaimer: ComPADRE offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure. Please refer to the style manuals in the Citation Source Information area for clarifications.

Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

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Sliding Down an Inclined Plane Model:

Is Based On Easy Java Simulations Modeling and Authoring Tool

The Easy Java Simulations Modeling and Authoring Tool is needed to explore the computational model used in the Sliding Down an Inclined Plane Model.

relation by Wolfgang Christian
Is a Teaching Guide For Physics Classroom: Inclined Planes
Same topic as Sliding Down an Incline Plane Model

A more advanced version of the Inclined Plane model that introduces frictional forces to the simulation.

relation by Caroline Hall

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