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Age Range: 16+
Duration: 30-59 mins
  • Mathematics

Inclined planes

Friction and resolving forces - mechanics in maths

In this practical, mechanics in maths activity, students will examine the coefficient in mathematics for A Level. This hands-on experiment is designed to be easily set up and carried out in a further mathematics A Level classroom using simple equipment. It will help students to understand the mechanics topics of resolving forces and friction in A level mathematics.

A block rests on a wooden plane and is attached to a string that passes over a pulley and connects to a hanging mass. Can you use your knowledge of mechanics in maths to find a value of the coefficient of friction between the block and the plane? Then try using this to predict the hanging mass required so that the block is just on the point of sliding up the plane. Do the calculations and then check your predictions.

The video features the equipment needed and the practical procedure. The teacher notes contain additional guidance on carrying out the activity, sample calculations and suggested points for discussion, as well as an indication of some relevant real-life applications.

Download the free activity sheet below!

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Inclined planes

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