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Example: Consider the 98 newton weight (or 10 kg mass) supported by a rope.

The tension in the rope attached to the 98 newton weight is just 98 newtons.

But this rope is now tied together with two other ropes as shown here.

What forces are exerted by the other two ropes?

To answer this, look at the forces exerted on the knot where the three ropes are
joined. The knot at rest so the sum of the forces acting on it must be zero.

Draw a free-body diagram showing just those forces.

T is the magnitude of the force on the knot from the rope attached directly to the
weight. TL is the magnitude of the force on the knot from the rope on the left that
makes an angle of 45° with the horizontal. And TR is the magnitude of the force on
the knot from the rope on the right that makes an angle of 30° with the horizontal.
These three forces must add to zero. Graphically, they can be added as shown
here; the force vectors form a closed triangle.

Now we apply the first condition of equilibrium,

F=0
which really means

Fx = 0 Fy = 0

First, resolve all the forces into their x- and y-components.

Fx = 0 Fy = 0

Fx = - TL cos 45o + TR cos 30o = Fy = TL sin 45o + TR sin 30o - 98 N =


0 0

- 0.707 TL + 0.866 TR = 0 0.707 TL + 0.5 TR - 98 N = 0

0.866 T R = 0.707 TL 0.707 TL + 0.5 TR = 98 N


Now we can substitute,
0.707 TL + 0.5 TR = 98 N

0.866 T R + 0.5 TR = 98 N

( 0.866 + 0.5 ) TR = 98 N

1.366 TR = 98 N

TR = 98 N / 1.366

TR = 71.7 N
0.866 T R = 0.707 TL

TL = (0.866 / 0.707) TR

TL = 1.22 TR

TL = 1.22 ( 71.7 N )

TL = 87.8 N
the object in Figure 6 has a weight of 1251bf. The object is suspended by cables as shown. Calculate the tension (T1) in
the cable at 30° with the horizontal.

Figure 6 Hanging Object

The tension in a cable is the force transmitted by the cable. The tension at any point in the cable can be measured
by cutting a suitable length from it and inserting a spring scale.

Figure 7 Free-Body Diagram

Solution:

Since the object and its supporting cables are motionless (i.e., in equilibrium), we know that the net force acting on
the intersection of the cables is zero. The fact that the net force is zero tells us that the sum of the x-components of
TI, T2,and T3 is zero, and the sum of the y-components of TI,T2,and T3 is zero.

The tension T3 is equal to the weight of the object, 1251bf. The x and y components of the tensions can be found
using trigonometry (e.g., sine function). Substituting known values into the second equation above yields the
following.
Solution: From the free-body-diagram, Fig. (b), we can observed that in additional

N
to the normal force , the external forces acting on the board are the weights of
the animals and the weight of the beam, all of which act downward. Further, we
can assume that the center of gravity of the beam is at its geometric center
because we are told that the board is uniform. Also, since the system is in

equilibrium, the upward force N must be balance all the downward forces, or the

Fnet = 0
net force, , i.e.,

Fnet = 0ˆi + ( N − 300 N − 40 N − 800 N)ˆj = 0 (1st condition of equilibrium)

ΣFx = 0
x-component: (no forces acting in the x-direction)

ΣFx = N − 300 N − 40 N − 800 N = 0


y-component:

Þ N = 300 N + 40 N + 800 N = 1140 N

b) To find the position of the bear must be to balance the system, we must apply
the second condition for equilibrium τ net = 0 , and taking the center of gravity of the
beam as the axis of rotation, i.e.,

τ net = (300 N)(3 m) − (800 N) x = 0

Þ (300 N)(3 m) − (800 N) x = 0

Or x = (300 N)(3 m) (800 N) ≈ 1.1 m