Sliding Versus Rolling Versus Tumbling


This simulation demonstrates the conditions under which a ball and box will slide or roll/tumble. Us the drop down menu to select a box or ball. Adjust the angle of the incline and the coefficient of static friction using the slider. In cases where sliding occurs, the simulation assumes . The friction and normal force are shown originating from a single point. In reality, these forces act everywhere there is contact, and the magnitude of those forces varies with position. The vectors drawn represent the location that an equivalent average force could be applied to cause the same behavior.
  1. There are three possibilities for each object: sliding, rolling/tumbling, and both sliding and rolling/tumbling. Can you find values for angle and friction that will make each happen for the box and ball?
  2. What force provides the torque that makes balls roll?
  3. Set the angle to less than 45 degrees. Can you make the box tumble?
  4. Set the angle above 45 degrees. Under what conditions does the box slide?
  5. 45 degrees is a special angle for the box. Why? Is it a special angle for the ball?