What are the different types of pulleys?


Quick Answer

The three types of pulleys are fixed, movable and combined. These simple machines consist of a wheel used in combination with a rope, cord, cable, chain or belt and are typically employed to lift heavy objects.

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Full Answer

When a fixed pulley is used individually, the effort required to lift a load is greater than the weight of the load itself. However, lifting with a pulley is easier than lifting without it because the pulley changes the direction of the force. For example, when a single fixed pulley is anchored to a ceiling, the person using it raises an object by pulling down instead of pushing up and may be able to take advantage of his weight for additional leverage.

Movable pulleys adjust with their loads, so the effort required for lifting is less than the weight of the lifted objects. Their disadvantage is that the user must pull or push the pulley up or down.

The benefit of combined pulleys is that the effort required for lifting is less than half the weight of the raised objects. However, their drawback is that the user must pull the rope a longer distance than with other types to lift the object a given amount. Also, combined pulleys generally require users to apply force for greater durations of time.

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