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Investigate how the static force exerted on the front axle varies with the vertical load applied to the rear end

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Leonore Cilliers – 0810                9/18/2008

Planning Exercise:

Investigate how the static force exerted on the front axle varies with the vertical load applied to the rear end

I will investigate how the vertical load (the towed load) on a recovery truck affects the static force exerted on the front axle of the recovery truck by designing an experiment modelling the situation.

When all the forces which act upon the recovery truck are balanced, then it is said to be in a state of equilibrium. This will be when the carried load balances the vertical load and so prevents the front end of the truck from lifting from the road.

The recovery truck will be modelled using a block of wood:

Holes drilled at R and F represents the position of the rear and front axles of a recovery truck.

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Range of precision of instruments:

Mass Balance – Measures to the nearest gram.

  • Measurement may be out by 1g
  • Mass balance has a 2000g capacity


  1. Set up the apparatus as shown above and ensure the wooden block is level, using the spirit level, with no variable weight attached.
  2. Take a measurement from the mass balance.
  3. Add a 100g mass to hook on the wooden block and take a measurement from the mass balance.
  4. Increase the variable load by adding 100g masses and then take measurements from the mass balance.
  5. Record measurements in table:

Fixed load, m / g

Variable load, m / g

Mass balance reading, m / g

  1. Use the equation F = mg where F is the force in Newton, m is the mass in kilograms and g is the gravitational field strength (9.81 Nkg-1 on earth)
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The reliability of the results can be determined by repeating the experiment and judging the extent of the internal consistency in the individual measurements. It is a measure of the confidence which can be placed in the observed measurements as well as a measure of the reproducibility of the measurements.image04.png

Safety Precautions:

There is a danger due to the heavy loads being used. To ensure that the investigation is safe, boots with steel toe-caps must be worn or feet must be kept well away from the heavy loads.

There is also the danger of the elastic bands that hold the wooden block snapping. To prevent eye injury due to pieces of elastic shooting into eyes, wear safety goggles.


Equilibrium and Statics:


Gravitational Field Strength


Leighton Park School – 51325                

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