Evan's Space

Wonders of Physics

Physics of Construction Lifting Truck

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1) Why are the 4 extended legs necessary?
This is to increase the area of base of the truck to increase the stability. From our theory, as long as the weight acting vertically downward from the centre of gravity is within the area of base, there will be a restoring moment to bring the truck back to its original position, hence increases its stability.

2) In what situation will the truck topple? (note the the centre of gravity (CG) of the truck is in general very low due to mass concentration at the base)
Basically, there are 2 situdation:
– if the load that is lifted is too heavy, the overall new CG of the truck and load might shift outside the area of base, hence causing the truck to topple. i.e. the clockwise moment created by the load is created than the anticlockwise moment created the weight of truck.
– If the angle of tilt is too much which increases the perpendicular distance from load to pivot. Likewise, the overall CG might be outside the area of base and there is a net clockwise moment.

3) What is the purpose of the metal plate underneath the legs?
The purpose is to increase the area of base. The whole weight of the truck is spread over the 4 legs. Since P = F/A, with a bigger base area, the pressure acting on the ground will be reduced. This is to minimise any damages done to the ground.

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