Tension Troubles: Understanding Mass and Force

• catenn
In summary, tension is equal to the mass of one of the weights times gravity when there is a string hanging with both ends and the same mass on each. If there are masses of different weights, the tension is of the lighter mass. Additionally, if there is one string being pulled in opposite directions with the same force, the force is of one of them and not the sum of the two forces. Drawing a free body diagram can help to visualize the balance of tension and weight in the system.
catenn
Hey, I have heard a few things about tension I am unsure about and would like to check. Is it true if there is a string hanging with both ends and the same mass on each the tension is equal to the mass of one of the weights times gravity? (ex. on each end of hanging string and pulley 500N, so T=500N?) And then if there are masses of different weights the Tension is of the lighter mass?

Also, if there were to be one string being pulled in opposite directions with the same force, the force is of one of them and not the sum of the two forces?

Thanks!

The answer to your first question is yes. You can best show it by drawing a free body diagram of the system -- that shows how the tension in the string balances each mass' weight. Here is a PF thread that may help to clarify the situation for you:

https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=130847

Okay! Thanks, finally a click! Things make sense! :) I have been trying to put together different parts and see it now.

1. What is tension and how is it related to mass and force?

Tension is a force that occurs when an object is pulled or stretched. It is directly related to mass and force because the amount of tension in a system depends on the mass of the objects involved and the amount of force being applied to them.

2. How does the understanding of tension help us in everyday life?

Understanding tension can help us in everyday life by allowing us to better predict and control the behavior of objects under tension. For example, understanding the tension in a rope can help us safely secure objects or predict how much weight the rope can support.

3. What factors affect tension?

The amount of tension in a system is affected by several factors, including the mass of the objects involved, the force being applied, and the distance between the objects. Other factors such as the material properties of the objects and external forces can also affect tension.

4. How is tension different from compression?

Tension and compression are opposite forces that act on an object. While tension occurs when an object is pulled or stretched, compression occurs when an object is pushed or squeezed. Both forces can cause changes in the shape and behavior of objects, but they act in different directions.

5. Can tension be measured?

Yes, tension can be measured using a variety of instruments such as tension meters or force gauges. These instruments can measure the amount of force being applied to an object and the resulting tension. However, tension can also be calculated using mathematical equations based on the known factors affecting the system.

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