Equilibrium of Strings


The beauty of mechanics is that it deals with many real-world problems that we have almost always seen in our daily lives. When you study something that you’ve experienced first-hand, the level of learning increases exponentially.

Equilibrium of Strings is one such topic. You come across this almost daily in your life. Be it holding your handbags or playing tug of war with your friends. Just as it is easy to visualize, it is equally easy to convert into a mathematical model and understand the forces that are involved.

hangbag equilibrium-of-strings
Photo by Buenosia Carol

Let’s take the example of a handbag. You use the strings on your handbag to lift it and carry it around. Depending upon the weight inside the bad the amount of tension in the string also varies and eventually when the load exceeds the load-carrying capacity of the string, it breaks.

To make it more interesting, consider that the two strings on your bag are of different lengths and the bag is quite heavy so you take the help of your friend to pick it up. Each holding one string.

To avoid the bag from touching the ground, you and your friends would be at a different distance from the bag. Taking your hand level as the reference to the angle made by the strings on that reference would be different.

Which string according to you would have a higher amount of tension in it?

The string which makes a higher angle with the reference or the person that is closer to the bag would have to apply more force, thus that string would have more tension in it.

This simple concept of equilibrium of strings can be expanded to generate a complicated system as well. You observe its application in the cable machine exercise at the gym.

So the next time you’re working out, make sure that you’re exactly at the center of the machine.

string in gym
Photo by Victor Freitas

For any query, reply below. We don’t have questions for this lesson 🙂

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