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Tension Question - - Vectors

  1. Jan 26, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    I have a quick question I'm just wondering that I saw in a book for my class, and I was wondering if anyone could give me any insight on it!

    A mass M is hung on a line between two supports A and B.


    a. Which part of the line supporting the mass has the greater tension? Explain.

    b. The supports A and B are not at the same level. What effect does this have on the tension in the line? Explain.

    I've got no idea of how to explain it without going into physics, which im sure my teacher doesn't want. If anyone could help me figure this out that would be awesome! thanks so much!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 26, 2009 #2


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    I don't see how to explain this without going into physics.
    Anyway, what is the tension in the line determined by (hint: the only forces acting on the block are tension and gravity). How does this depends on the properties of the ropes (hint: there is a dependence on the angle).
  4. Jan 26, 2009 #3
    To the eye at least, it appears that each of these cords is at the same angle above the horizontal. If that is true, then the vertical component of tension is the same in each and they are each carrying half of the weight of the block.

    Now if they are at different angles with respect to the horizontal, the cord more steeply inclined to the horizontal will be the one carrying the greater load.

    The fact that the supports are at different levels has no effect at all as long as we neglect the weight of the cord it self.
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