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# Mechanics

## Lesson 18: Friction in Belts

Transmission of rotary motion, or application of braking torque using friction belts is widely used in machines. Belt transmissions are noise free, require
minimal maintenance and considered safe (non-positive drive). The analysis of friction belts is also useful for analyzing rope/cable friction in various
applications.

Figure 1:

## Consider a thin belt covering an angle (angle of wrap) over a drum of

radius r with friction. The tensions in the two portions of the belt are T1 and
T2 with T2 > T1 , and the drum is maintained in equilibrium by the torque M.

## The problem is to determine the relation between T1 and T2 at impending

slippage. This will also tell us the torque M that can be transmitted.
From the FBD of a small element of the belt shown in Fig. 1
X
d
d
Fx = 0 df + T cos
(T + dT ) cos
=0
2
2
X
d
d
Fy = 0 dN T sin
(T + dT ) sin
=0
2
2
Using the condition of impending slippage df = dN , and the approximations sin d/2 d/2 and cos d/2 1, we have up to first order dN =df ,
and dN =d. Thus,

T2
T1

dT
=
T

d T2 = T1e
0

The equilibrium torque on the drum is then obtained from moment equilibrium as

Mo = 0 M = r(T2 T1).

Problem 1
A person of mass 80 kg has to lower or raise himself/herself using the arrangement shown in Fig. 2. If the coefficient of friction between the rope and
the beam is 0.6, determine the force required to lower and raise.
Solution
The angle of wrap of the rope = rad. Consider the FBD shown in Fig. 3.
When the person is lowering, tension in rope section OA is larger than that
in section OB (held by the hands). Hence
TOA
= e0.6 .
TOB
2

(1)

Figure 2:

Figure 3:
3

TOA + TOB = 80g.

(2)

## From (1) and (2)

(1 + e0.6 )TOB = 80g TOB = 103.35 N.
For raising, TOB > TOA . Hence,
TOB
= e0.6 .
TOA

(3)

## From (2) and (3)

(1 + e0.6 )TOB = 80g TOB = 680.65 N.

Figure 4:

Problem 2
A uniform beam of mass density 74 kg/m and length 1.8 m is suspended
symmetrically, as shown in Fig. 4. Calculate the maximum force P that can
be supported without tipping the beam. Take the coefficient of static friction
between the chord and the cylinder to be = 0.5.

Figure 5:

Solution
The FBD of the beam is shown in Fig. 5. Here W = mg = 74 1.8
9.8 = 1305.36 N. From force equilibrium in the vertical direction and moment
X

Fy = 0 T 1 + T 2 W P = 0

## Fx = 0 0.15(T1 T2) + 0.9P = 0

(1)
(2)

Since the beam will have a tendency to tip in the direction of the force P, we
must have T2 > T1. Hence, at impending sliding,
T2
= e0.5 .
T1

(3)

## From (1), (2) and (3), we have Pmax = 160.2 N.

5

Figure 6:

Figure 7:

Problem 3
For the arrangement shown in Fig. 6, determine the range of values of m for
equilibrium. Neglect friction in the pulley.
Solution
It may be checked that the 50 kg block can have impending motion downwards. Thus, we can have two cases, namely impending motion down or up
the plane.
6

## Case (a): Impending downward motion of 50 kg block

The FBD of the beam is shown in Fig. 7. We note that T2 > T1, and the
friction force is upwards. From equations of equilibrium of the block
N = 50g cos 20

(1)

(2)

## From the FBD of the pulley

2T1 = mg

(3)

Since the string over the circular extension is also in impending motion
T2 = T1e0.25
where the angle of wrap =

110
180

(4)

mg 0.25
e
m = 12.4 kg.
2

## Case (b): Impending upward motion of 50 kg block

The FBD of the beam is shown in Fig. 8. In this case, the equations of equilibrium of the block, pulley and the relation between T1 and T2 in impending
slippage may be written as
N = 50g cos 20
T2 = 50g sin 20 + 0.15N
2T1 = mg
7

Figure 8:

T1 = T2e0.25
Solving these equations simultaneously for m, we have m = 78 kg.
Thus, for equilibrium, 12.4 kg m 78 kg.