Pulley System


A pulley is a simple system that utilizes a wheel that is built on a particular axle. This system contains a central shaft that is made aiming to assist the rotting wheel or the gear present in the system, this setup is designed in such a manner that helps in the movement of the cable or belt. The pulley system is known to be the oldest mechanism that continues to exist in modern times and is used in multiple applications

What is meant by the Pulley system?

Figure 1: A pulley system

The pulley system utilizes a block that is in a shape of a disk, a rope is wrapped around the block to form one of the simplest forms of the mechanism. This system utilizes the force of tension which is applied on one end of the rope that helps the pulley system in diverting the effect of the force in another description (hyperphysics 2022). This pulley system utilizes certain parameters or factors that contribute to the efficiency of the system

  • The first criterion that is present in the system is the magnitude of the applied force does not alter. However, the direction of the force changes over time. This easy process of work makes the pulley system one of the simplest machines Pulley provides absolutely no resistance to the rope in the system

  • Once the law of conservation of energy is applied to the pulley system an individual does not have to fret about the energy of the pulley and the rope

  • In case the effect of the force imparted upon the object is calculated that is attached to be the pulley, the mass of the pull is not taken into consideration.

Pulley system: History

It is one of the oldest mechanisms that exist in the human civilization. The pulley system that is used in the daily lives can find its trace origins in the Mesopotamian civilization. During the Roman period, the use of the pulley system was a mainstream process to lift heavy objects

Pulley system: Types

There are multitudes of pulleys in existence depending upon the functionalities. Most of the crucial subdivisions are mentioned as follows−

Figure 2: Types of pulley system

  • Fixed pulley − this kind of pulley utilizes the mechanisms that consist of a wheel that is fixated. The wheel will not be able to move from its location and it cannot even rotate from its point of origin (sciencing, 2022). This type of wheel is also called the fixed wheel pulley

  • Movable pulley − This kind of pulley utilizes a wheel that can move and can rotate freely. It is then considered to be a movable pulley

  • Compound pulley − This pulley exists with the combination of the mechanism of both the fixed pulley and the movable pulley.

  • Block and Tackle Pulley: Two or more pulleys connected with thread in between them and are utilized for lifting heavy loads

Mechanism of Pulley

A pulley in general utilizes such a mechanism that makes it easier to lift heavy objects with a lot less effort. This system utilizes the simplest tools in existence even in the industry of engineering. The pulley is utilized in multiple pieces of machinery. The different kind of the pulley that exists has their distinct category of mechanism.

  • A fixed pulley is categorically known to be the simplest form of the pulley system. As opined by Spiegelhauer & Schlecht (2021). In order to make this device work the amount of force that is applied to the pulley system is similar to the weight of the pulley. This pulley system does not require much space to function properly. A fixed pulley alters the direction of the force applied on the belt of rope that moves along the circumference of the block. Most common examples of the fixed pulley can be found in the water well, the flag pole, anatomical pulley and the motor pulley.

  • A movable pulley utilizes the mechanism of the pulley system with the aid of a wheel that moves or rotates. This pulley system requires a lot less amount of force to lift the object. The wheel that exists in this pulley system helps in enabling the motion of the pulley system. The pulley in this system can easily go up and go down. This kind of ceiling is attached to another object or ceiling by the lengths of the same rope. Movable pulleys are utilized in elevators and cranes.

  • The compound pulley system utilizes the function of both the aforementioned pulleys, which are its functions with the combination of a simple pulley and a movable pulley. It reduces the amount of force required to less than half the amount of the load. This pulley thus enhances the efficiency of both the fixed and the movable pulley. Compound pulleys are also used in sailboats, cranes and elevators.

  • Block and tackle pulley uses more than one pulley that is attached to a rope that is required to lift heavy weights (theengineeringpost, 2022). These pulleys are assembled in different blocks.


The pulley system in exists is one the easiest of the mechanism that is utilized by people in everyday life for ease of work. This system is applied to lift heavy objects without requiring a lot of force to put into it. There are different kinds of pulley in existence for example, a fixed pulley, and a compound pulleys and a block and tackle pulley


Q1. What is a pulley system?

A pulley system uses a wheel with the support of a shaft that is used to simply lift heavy objects. It transfers the power between cable and the shaft.

Q2. What is the main application of the pulley?

A pulley is used to lift objects easily. It is used in heavy industrial applications or simple household work, like window blinds

Q3. What are the main types of the pulley?

There are three main types of pulley. A fixed pulley, movable pulley and compound pulley and tackle pulley are examples of pulleys varying based on their structure and mechanism

Q4. What are the main components of a pulley system?

Pulley in general is composed of four parts. A wheel, hook a flexible belt and axle. These components help in the reduction of force required to lift objects.


Simply Easy Learning