Physics of a Sliding Ladder

Requires a Wolfram Notebook System

Interact on desktop, mobile and cloud with the free Wolfram CDF Player or other Wolfram Language products.

Requires a Wolfram Notebook System

Edit on desktop, mobile and cloud with any Wolfram Language product.

Using results from related rate problems, some calculus books suggest that a ladder leaning against a wall and sliding under the influence of gravity will reach speeds that approach infinity. This Demonstration is built from the actual equations that govern the motion of the ladder as determined by the theory of rigid body mechanics. It shows that a sliding ladder never reaches very high speeds. The motion can be followed in two contrasting situations, with the top of the ladder either free to move away from the wall or constrained to be in contact with the wall. The forces are calculated for the falling ladder just before the top hits the floor.

Contributed by: Stelios Kapranidis and Reginald Koo (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA


Snapshots


Details



Feedback (field required)
Email (field required) Name
Occupation Organization
Note: Your message & contact information may be shared with the author of any specific Demonstration for which you give feedback.
Send