Simple Science
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Movable Pulleys
Man's Way of Helping Himself:
By the use of a movable pulley, we are able to support a weight by a force equal to only one half the load. The downward pull of the weight and the downward pull of the hand are equal; in Figure 110, the spring balance supports only one half the entire load, the remaining half being borne by the hook to which the string is attached. The weight is divided equally between the two parts of the string which passes around the pulley, so that each strand bears only one half of the burden.

We have seen in our study of the lever and the inclined plane that an increase in force is always accompanied by a decrease in distance, and in the case of the pulley we naturally look for a similar result. If you raise the balance 12 feet, you will find that the weight rises only 6 feet; if you raise the balance 24 inches, you will find that the weight rises 12 inches. You must exercise a force of 100 pounds over 12 feet of space in order to raise a weight of 200 pounds a distance of 6 feet. When we raise 100 pounds through 12 feet or 200 pounds through 6 feet the total work done is the same; but the pulley enables those who cannot furnish a force of 200 pounds for the space of 6 feet to accomplish the task by furnishing 100 pounds for the space of 12 feet.

FIG. - A movable pulley lightens labor.

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