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A pulley is a wheel on an axle that is designed to support movement of a cable or belt along its circumference.
Pulleys are used in a variety of ways to lift loads, apply forces, and to transmit power.
Hero of Alexandria identified the pulley as one of six simple machines used to lift weights.
Pulleys are assembled to form a block and tackle in order to provide mechanical advantage to apply large forces. Pulleys are also assembled as part of belt and chain drives in order to transmit power from one rotating shaft to another.
|Water Well Pulley||by Corey Leopold on Flickr|
How it works
The simplest theory of operation for a pulley system assumes that the pulleys and lines are weightless, and that there is no energy loss due to friction. It is also assumed that the lines do not stretch.
In equilibrium, the forces on the moving block must sum to zero. In addition the tension in the rope must be the same for each of its parts. This means that the two parts of the rope supporting the moving block must each support one-half the load
|Masts & Ropes & Pulleys||by gterez on Flickr|
These are different types of pulley systems:
- Fixed: A fixed pulley has an axle mounted in bearings attached to a supporting structure. A fixed pulley changes the direction of the force on a rope or belt that moves along its circumference. Mechanical advantage is gained by combining a fixed pulley with a movable pulley or another fixed pulley of a different diameter.
- Movable: A movable pulley has an axle in a movable block. A single movable pulley is supported by two parts of the same rope and has a mechanical advantage of two.
- Compound: A combination of fixed and a movable pulleys forms a block and tackle. A block and tackle can have several pulleys mounted on the fixed and moving axles, further increasing the mechanical advantage.
|These Wicked Ways||by ShuttrKing|KT on Flickr|
|Pulleys||by sean_hickin on Flickr|
|Gears and Beers||by swanksalot on Flickr|
|Gears in Centre Georges Pompidou||by Joshua Kaufman on Flickr|
|Setting Sail||by ThreeDee912 on Flickr|
|DSC_1792||by Kuba Luchtaj on Flickr|
|Poulies et cordes||by fred_v on Flickr|
|74:365||by stormwarning. on Flickr|
|Pole and Pulley||by mikecogh on Flickr|
|Pulley Wheel||by mikecogh on Flickr|