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Pulleys

# Pulleys

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07/20/2013

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Pulleys
Pulleys are well-known simple machines which can be used to reduce lifting force. The figurebelow shows (left to right) 1:1, 2:1, and 4:1 pulleys.
m X mm
Let us derive the required lifting force for each pulley. The figure below shows (left to right) free-bodydiagrams (FBDs) for the 1:1, 2:1, and 4:1 pulleys.
F  R R
1
1
1
1
1
1
R
2
2
2

1:1 Pulley.
For the left FBD above, from static balance the cable tension lifting the weight must equalthe lifting force:
mg
 
. Then from equating the sum of
forces to zero,
mg R
2
  
.This pulley does not reduce the required lifting weight.
2:1 Pulley.
For the left of the center two FBDs above, from static balance the cable tension
1
liftingthe weight is only half of the weight since one end of the rope is tied to the frame:
mg
 
1
2 and so2 /
1
mg

. The right of the center two FBDs above is similar to that of the 1:1 pulley; since the rope iscut for drawing FBDs, the same
1
acts down on this FBD as shown (equal & opposite forces fromNewton’s Third Law). Therefore, the lifting force is 2 /
1
mg
 
. Further,
mg R
  
1
. Thetotal reaction force on the frame is 2 / 3
1
mg R R
tot
  
. This pulley cuts the required lifting weightin two.