How does angle affect a ramp?

Written by mika lo
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How does angle affect a ramp?
(Picture by xameron.)

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Ramp Usage

Ramps have different uses and have slowly but surely been integrated into everyday human society. Wheelchair users use ramps to access places that would be out of reach without an ascending or descending surface. The angles of the ramps are generally acute so they aren't too steep and are easy to wheel up without exhausting the user. Ramps with more than a 10-degree angle should be avoided by wheelchair users, however, as a significant loss of traction and control can be experienced. Skateboarders, bikers, and tricksters of all types use ramps to gain "air" in their stunts. By positioning a ramp in a convenient location, the person is able to use the ramp and its angle to help propel him into the air for a short amount of time.

Types of Angles on a Ramp

When using ramps, the angle of the ramp will dictate how it will be traversed by different users. If the ramp has a peak (like a mountain), then this usually means that it can be approached from two sides. The peak of a ramp is usually the spot that presents the most challenge if using a long vehicle. The midsection may scrape on the point of the ramp if it is too steep.

The steeper and shorter a ramp's angle is dictates that more force must be exerted in order to traverse. Longer ramps that have a slow, yet gradual incline have a less noticeable peak because they are wider at the base. Ramps can all be categorised into three different angle types. Acute angles are less than 90 degrees. Obtuse angles are greater than 90 degrees. Right angles have a perfect 90-degree angle within the ramp.

The Effects of a Ramp's Angle

Propelling force and energy combined with the angle of a ramp dictates the outcome of the ramp's departure. For instance, a ramp that is steep and approached at high speed will propel the user higher into the air depending on the force with which the ramp is departed. The more speed and energy expended, speed the further into the air the user will go. A ramp that is longer and has a gradual rising angle will provide more distance when departed with the same amount of force as a steeper angle. This serves to propel the user further away horizontally.

A ramp's angle also can dictate the amount of energy needed to traverse. A ramp that is steep, for instance, takes more energy than a ramp that is the same length and not as steep. Judging the angle of a ramp before approach and the vehicle in which it will be traversed also can prevent the damage of the vehicle. Cars that are closer to the ground, for instance, may get stuck in the middle of the bottom of the vehicle, or the end of the car may drag on the surface of a ramp when exiting because of the type of angle and the vehicle's reaction to it.

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