Gravity's effect on the chain will be the same, no matter the slope, what you have to take into account is the mass on each side of the pivot point [in this case the point where the two slopes meet], assuming the chain is uniform across it's entire length, the side with the most mass is the side with the longest part of chain [the left side]. Due to F = mgh, the force acting on the side with the most mass will be greatest [since in this example height and gravity can be considered constants], therefore the chain should fall off the left side.
Of course, I've not taken into account the vertical component force of the slope acting against gravity, but in a frictionless experiment, I would tend to imagine this wouldn't matter...as much. =p
Then again, I much prefer physics with numbers than theoretical physics.
Also, I agree that without any ballpark figures, there are multiple outcomes, if the flat slope is only sloping at a small angle the slope would become negligible and the chain would likely fall right, similarly if the angles are just right, they would balance. My above theory goes from a setup like the one in Sam's pic, where the left (flat) slope is at a considerable angle, and the right slope is almost irrelevant to the shorter chain.
quote:
Originally posted by djdannyp
Physics isn't my strong point, but it was said on QI that a bullet being fired while aimed parallel to the ground at arm's length will hit the ground at the same time as if you simply drop a bullet held at the same height. Showing that gravity acts the same on objects regardless of the force/direction
Doesn't the same thing kinda apply here to disprove that?
No, simply because the in the QI version the force [air resistance as the bullet falls vertically] acting against gravity is the same, in this experiment, the force acting against gravity is different for the two sides of chain.
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quote:
Originally posted by MeEtc
It depends not on the mass of each side, but the force of gravity exerting on the ramp in a vertical direction. The above example is indeterminate without the angles of the slope and length of chain on each side. Assuming the mass of the chain is evenly distributed, the mass itself irreverent, just the length of the chain is needed.
The mass isn't evenly distributed about the pivot though, else the problem wouldn't occur and the chain wouldn't fall either way. Assuming a uniform chain, the longer side will have more mass, thus it's weight will be greater.