Mechanical Advantage - Simple Pulley

A commonly used tool for lifting heavy objects is a pulley system. By sharing the load among two or more ropes or chains, the force applied is multiplied by the number of ropes/chains sharing the tension. The number of ropes/chains determine the mechanical advantage or MA. In the diagram above, you can see that it only takes 24 /MA units of force to lift a weight of 24. The trade off is that the weight only rises 1/MA times as far as the handle is pulled down. Note that you don't count the rope/chain between the handle and the first pulley, since it only redirects the force. See the simple configuration at right to see an example of a pulley system without the force being redirected, having the same mechanical advantage as the two-rope system above.

Subject Index for all interactive diagrams - Physics - Dynamics - Mechanical Advantage - Simple Pulley

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