Why are there two tension values in my system?

I had a 500g mass and a 200g mass connected by a string over a frictionless pulley. The 200g mass was on the ground while the 500g mass was held in the air until it was released. Upon calculation, it seems as though the force of tension (Ft) was greater on the 500g mass than the 200g mass. Why?

1 Answer
Feb 26, 2018

The force (tension) is larger on the side of the 500g mass.


According to Newtons 2nd Law, F=ma, the tension can be calculated using this formula. 500g is bigger than two hundred grams, which would cause the tension to be bigger on the heavier object.
There are two tensions in the system because they are connected on a pully. The two different masses on each side the allows there to be an individual amount of tension, depending on the rope.

For many physics questions there will be notations such as T1 and T2, which is indicating the different tensions in the pulley.