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Homework Help: Archived Equilibrium in a walkway

  1. Sep 30, 2013 #1
    This problem is trying to find out how much weight can be placed in the middle of a system before the weights on the outside go over the pulleys.

    A diagram of the problem can be found here http://www.physics.umn.edu/classes/...ds/208321-1201Lab3_P4_Equilibrium_Walkway.pdf

    We are trying to find d (the distance of the sag) in terms of known quantities. We will know m (the mass of each counterweight), L (the length), and M the mass of the center weight.

    So far I have...

    ƩFx=Fc cosθ+Fa cosθ=0
    ∑Fy=Fc sinθ+Fa sinθ-Fb=0

    All from the middle point P, where Fb is the force down, Fa is the force up to the left, and Fc is the force up to the right.

    sinθ=d/L1 =d/√(d2+(L/2)2)

    That check mark is supposed to be a squareroot if that wasn't clear.

    I am not sure where to go from here to solve for d.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 5, 2016 #2


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    The linked page is not public, so the diagram is unknown. Taking the algebra on trust to the final equation, and assuming theta is known, it is just a matter of squaring both sides, multiplying out to remove the fraction, and collecting up like terms, to find a simple expression for d2.
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