Pulleys. Forces and motion

Would you like to know the secrets of how a pulley works?

The online pulleys simulations on this page will allow you to better understand how a pulley works and how pulley systems allow you to lift large weights by applying small forces.

A pulley is a mechanical device consisting of a wheel with a groove on its edge, used to change the direction and/or magnitude of force applied to a rope or cable wrapped around it. Pulleys are commonly used in pulley and cable systems to lift heavy objects or to apply forces in different directions.

There are several types of pulleys, including fixed, movable and compound pulleys. Fixed pulleys have a wheel that rotates on a fixed shaft, while movable pulleys have a wheel that can move along an axis. Composite pulleys combine a fixed and a movable pulley to create an additional mechanical advantage.

Pulleys are important in physics because they can change the direction of force applied to an object and, therefore, can be used to lift heavy objects with less force. In addition, pulleys can increase the distance over which force is applied, which can also increase the resultant force.

Pulleys are also used in engineering and construction, especially in large construction projects where heavy objects need to be lifted and moved. Cranes, for example, use pulleys to lift heavy loads effectively and safely. Pulleys are also used in heavy machinery, such as excavators and cranes, to facilitate the handling of heavy objects.

In summary, the online pulley simulations on this page will help you, in an interactive and simple way, to understand the operation of individual pulleys and pulley systems.

Pulley in equilibrium


In this simulation, two different masses are connected by a rope passing through a pulley. What force must be applied to the smaller mass to keep both masses still?

Pulleys in motion


In this simulation, we can see what happens when a system consisting of two different masses connected by a rope passing through a pulley is released. Can you identify and name each of the forces involved in the system?

Multiple pulleys


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