# Understanding Tension Force: Two Elephants Pulling a Rope

• oxnume
In summary, the tension force experienced by the rope in the given situation is 10N, as each elephant exerts 10N of force on the rope and according to Newton's third law, the force on both ends of the rope must be equal and opposite.

## Homework Statement

Two elephants are pulling on opposite ends of a rope each with 10N of force. What is the tension force experienced by the rope?

## Homework Equations

Not sure if there are any

## The Attempt at a Solution

I originally thought to just add the the two together because they are pulling in opposite directions, so that would be 20N. But after taking up this question in class my teacher said the answer is supposed to be 10N and didn't explain too clearly. Can someone please explain exactly why that is?

Welcome to PF!

Hi oxnume ! Welcome to PF! oxnume said:
Two elephants are pulling on opposite ends of a rope each with 10N of force. What is the tension force experienced by the rope?

my teacher said the answer is supposed to be 10N and didn't explain too clearly. Can someone please explain exactly why that is?

Because that's the way tension is defined …

if a mass of 10N is hanging from a rope tied to the ceiling, then the force exerted by the rope on the mass is (obviously) 10N …

so, by Newton's third law, the mass is also exerting 10N on the rope …

and since the rope isn't moving, Newton's second law tells us that the forces on the two ends of the rope must add to zero …

so the ceiling is also exerting 10N on the rope

(and the rope is exerting 10N on the ceiling). Tension of 10N means that every tiny little bit of the rope has 10N force on either side of it, holding it in place. 