Physlets run in a Java-enabled browser on the latest Windows & Mac operating systems.
If Physlets do not run, click here for help on updating Java and setting Java security.
Exploration 4.7: Atwood's Machine
Please wait for the animation to completely load.
A 10-kg mass, M, is attached via a massless pulley to another variable mass m (position is given in meters and time is given in seconds). You can test the limits of the formula for the acceleration of the Atwood's machine (not shown to scale) by changing the ratio of the masses above. Restart.
- Draw a free-body diagram for each mass.
- Solve for the acceleration of m in terms of g, M, and m.
- Which, if any, of the following statements regarding the motion of the masses are true?
- when M = m then: a = g.
- when M = m then: a = 0.
- when M >> m then: a = g.
- when M >> m then: a = 0.
- when M < m then: a = 0.
- when M < m then: a = g.
- when M < m then: a < 0.
Verify your answer(s) to (c) by using the animation and your answer for (b).