Is the Tension Force in an Atwood Machine Only Transmitted Between Blocks?

In summary, the student is incorrect because the string in an Atwood machine does not simply transmit the weight of one block to the other. It actually holds the objects together and creates tension, which is a result of the forces on the blocks through the string. The equation for tension in this system is T = mg + ma.
  • #1
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Homework Statement


When talking about an Atwood machine, a student states:
"All strings can do is transmit forces from other objects. That means that the string in the Atwood's machine just transmits the weight of one block to the other."
Is the student correct or incorrect? Why?

Homework Equations


Tension = mg + ma

The Attempt at a Solution


This is how it is making sense in my mind, but correct me if I'm wrong.
I am thinking that the student is incorrect, because the tension force on the string holds objects together. The weight of one block isn't transmitted from one block to another, but the forces on the blocks are a result of one another through the string.
 
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  • #2
I think I could argue either way... but it reads like you've said the same thing as "the student", but in different words.
 

Related to Is the Tension Force in an Atwood Machine Only Transmitted Between Blocks?

What is a "String" in the context of Atwood Machines?

In an Atwood Machine, a "string" refers to the thin, flexible material that connects the two masses and runs over the pulley. It is typically made of a strong and lightweight material, such as nylon or steel, and is used to transmit force between the masses and the pulley.

What is an Atwood Machine and how does it work?

An Atwood Machine is a simple mechanical device that consists of two masses connected by a string, with one mass hanging on each side of a pulley. The machine works by utilizing the force of gravity to create a net force on the masses, causing them to accelerate towards each other. As one mass moves down, the other moves up, and the string and pulley system work together to maintain balance and transfer force between the two masses.

What is the role of tension in a string in an Atwood Machine?

In an Atwood Machine, the tension in the string plays a crucial role in maintaining equilibrium and transferring force between the two masses. The tension in the string is equal throughout its length and acts in opposite directions on the two masses. It is this tension that allows the masses to move and accelerate in opposite directions without the string breaking or slipping off the pulley.

How does the acceleration of the masses in an Atwood Machine depend on the difference in mass between them?

The acceleration of the masses in an Atwood Machine is directly proportional to the difference in mass between them. This means that the greater the difference in mass, the greater the acceleration of the masses will be. This relationship is known as Newton's Second Law of Motion, which states that the acceleration of an object is directly proportional to the net force acting on it and inversely proportional to its mass.

What factors can affect the acceleration of an Atwood Machine?

The acceleration of an Atwood Machine is primarily affected by the difference in mass between the two masses and the force of gravity. Other factors that can impact the acceleration include the mass of the string and the friction between the string and the pulley. Additionally, external forces such as air resistance and the curvature of the Earth can also have a minor effect on the acceleration of an Atwood Machine.

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