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Thread: Working out a vector on a slope

  1. #1
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    Feb 2008
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    Working out a vector on a slope

    Hello again, heres one for all you physics and maths gurus out there

    I understand that if a ball sits on a flat platform with a gravity of 1, pointing down at 90 degrees, the platform exerts an equal and opposite vector at -90 degrees with an equal magnitude of 1 (I think), hence the ball doesn't move. (picture 1 shows what I mean).

    The question is, if the ball sits on a slope is there a way to work out the magnitude and direction of the vector representing the force exerted by the sloped platform (picture 2). I think the direction may be perpendicular to the platform (please correct me if I am wrong), but I have no idea how to work out the magitude.

    Any help would be VERY appreciated. I am having a riot playing with physics for the first time, but this one has me stumped.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judah Smith View Post
    The question is, if the ball sits on a slope is there a way to work out the magnitude and direction of the vector representing the force exerted by the sloped platform (picture 2). I think the direction may be perpendicular to the platform (please correct me if I am wrong), but I have no idea how to work out the magitude.
    Project the vector of the ball onto the slope('s vector). The projection is the vector of the ball as if it were sliding down the slope, and the difference of the original velocity vector and that is what you're looking for, also described in the Wikipedia entry.

  3. #3
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    Feb 2010
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    The vector is still in the same direction, up. However there are many other vectors. I would suggest a program called PHUN. It is a free program to help you visualize physical phenomena

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