This Java Applet simulates the well-known "leaning ladder" physics problem. It consists of a ladder leaning against a wall and a person standing on the ladder (represented by a blue ball). The user can adjust mass of ladder, mass of person, distance person stands from base of ladder, coefficient of static friction underneath ladder, and the theta angle. Force vectors and values are shown for the lateral force and force of static friction on the base of the ladder. The ladder will fall if the lateral is greater than the frictional force.
Editor's Note: Physlets are designed using very simple graphics to convey focused concepts. In this case, the ladder is on a frictional surface and will stand in place if the applied force is less than the force of static friction. This simulation will help students build an understanding of factors affecting static equilibrium.
This is part of a larger collection of Physlet-based tutorials developed at Lawrence Technological University to support instruction of introductory physics.
Please note that this resource requires
Java Applet Plug-in.
Metadata instance created
March 23, 2011
by Kendall Hunnewell
September 2, 2011
by Caroline Hall
Last Update when Cataloged:
March 15, 2006
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
4. The Physical Setting
9-12: 4F/H1. The change in motion (direction or speed) of an object is proportional to the applied force and inversely proportional to the mass.
9-12: 4F/H7. In most familiar situations, frictional forces complicate the description of motion, although the basic principles still apply.
11. Common Themes
6-8: 11B/M4. Simulations are often useful in modeling events and processes.
6-8: 11B/M5. The usefulness of a model depends on how closely its behavior matches key aspects of what is being modeled. The only way to determine the usefulness of a model is to compare its behavior to the behavior of the real-world object, event, or process being modeled.
%0 Electronic Source %A Schneider, Scott %D March 15, 2006 %T LTU Physlet: Ladder Leaning Against a Wall %V 2013 %N 21 May 2013 %8 March 15, 2006 %9 application/java %U http://vnatsci.ltu.edu/s_schneider/physlets/main/ladder.shtml
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This related Physlet presents the concept of equilibrium with fewer components: it removes the person from the ladder. The only problem to be considered is the mean lean angle required to maintain static equilibrium.