Education Technology

Mechanical Advantage of Pulleys

Published on 08/07/2010

Activity Overview

Students explore a single-fixed-pulley system by varying the load and measure the force necessary to lift the load.

Key Steps

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    Students investigate the mechanical advantages of various pulley systems. First, they use a force sensor to collect data on the force needed to lift various loads using a single, fixed pulley.

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    Next, students make a plot of resistance force vs. effort force for the single, fixed pulley. They use linear regression to confirm that the mechanical advantage of the system is one.

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    Finally, students use simulations of different pulley systems to learn about their mechanical advantages. They vary the resistance force and the effort force and examine the results. They calculate the mechanical advantage for the different systems using these data.