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Physics/Inclined Planes


Draw an inclined plane that shows a distance input of 3m and a distance output of 2m.

- I am having difficulty interpreting the meaning of the distance output and distance input. Thanks for your help.

Hello Julieanna,

To help you understand the meaning of input and output in this case, imagine you have to get to the top of a 2 meter cliff. You have some scrap lumber laying about and find a 3 meter plank. If you put one end on the top of the cliff and the other end on the ground (perhaps secured with a rock), that is your inclined plane.

If you put IN the effort of crawling up that plank,
what you will get OUT of that work is to get yourself to the top of the cliff.

Addition: So if you have drawn that, you should have a right triangle with a vertical side 2 m long and a hypotenuse of 3 m. The horizontal side would be sqrt(3^2 - 2^2) = sqrt5 = 2.2 m.

I hope this helps,


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Steve Johnson


I would be delighted to help with questions up through the first year of college Physics. Particularly Electricity, Electronics and Newtonian Mechanics (motion, acceleration etc.). I decline questions on relativity and Atomic Physics. I also could discuss the Space Shuttle and space flight in general.


I have a BS in Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering. I am retired now. My professional career was in Electrical Engineering with considerable time spent working with accelerometers, gyroscopes and flight dynamics (Physics related topics) while working on the Space Shuttle. I gave formal classroom lessons to technical co-workers periodically over a several year period.

BS Physics, North Dakota State University
MS Electrical Engineering, North Dakota State University

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