Tension Force Examples in Daily Life

Tension Force

Tension is a force that is built as a result of pulling a rope or a wire from both sides. Tension force is equal to the product of the mass of the object and acceleration due to gravitation, provided the equilibrium conditions are maintained. Tension is the opposite of compression force. All the objects that are present in contact with each other exert a force on each other. The best example of a tension force can be seen while pulling a rope. When a pull force is applied to the rope, a significant amount of tension gets built. Whereas, while pushing the rope, the tension gets lost and it goes slack. In simple words, a properly taut rope possesses tension force and a loose rope lacks tension force.


1. Car Towing

While towing a car, a vehicle makes use of a taut chain that transfers the tension force to the attached vehicle. In order to maximize the power transfer, the chains and the wires used in the towing mechanism have zero mass. The engine of the towing vehicle supplies energy to an arrangement of chain and pulley. This energy is then coupled to the vehicle that is to be towed. Thereby, allowing the operator to take the secondary vehicle to some other desired location.

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2. Pulling a Bucket of Water from Well

Extracting water from a well is one of the best examples of tension forces. It makes use of a rope whose one end is tied to the handle of the bucket, while the other end is tied to the pulley. When this rope is stretched by an external force, tension gets build up. The rope becomes a medium to transfer energy between the bucket and the person trying to pull the water out of the well. Therefore, with the appropriate use of tension force and pulley, the process gets simplified and water can be easily extracted.

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3. Weighing

Weighing is used in almost every business sector. Most products are measured in terms of weight to specify their price and quantity. This is usually done with help of a traditional weighing balance equipment. The weighing equipment consists of a rod with plates attached to both ends with the help of strings. The quantity to be measured is suspended on one plate, while the other plate contains the standard weight. The equipment is then lifted in the air and the weights on both the plates are compared. If the equipment is balanced, the quantity to be measured is equal to the standard weight. The tension force plays a huge role in making the process of weighing practicable.

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4. Gym Equipment

Most gym equipment such as Lat Pull Down Machine, resistance band, etc. makes use of tension force to provide fitness-related services. In a Lat Pull Down Machine, weights are attached to one end of the string that can be adjusted as per the user’s convenience. The other end of the wire is attached to a handle. The ropes used in such applications are low mass strings. This enables the equipment to remain taut even when not in use. Similarly, a resistance band is used to perform various stretching exercises by employing tension and compression force.

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5. Crane Lifting Objects

A crane lifting the objects makes use of a long metallic chain and a huge pulley. Since the object and the operator are not in direct contact with each other, the force required for the lifting reaches the object indirectly through the tension force possessed by the chain. This is one of the major applications of the tension force in the industrial world.

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6. Whirligig

Whirligig is a children’s game that consists of a thread and a circular disk. The disk is suspended in the center of the thread tied in a loop. The game equipment is then held from both ends and is stretched to its maximum. A considerable amount of tension force is created in the thread that allows a creative movement of the disk.

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7. Tug-of-war

Tug of war is one of the most popular sports among the youngsters that employ tension force. The prime requirement of a tug-of-war competition is a thoroughly stretched rope. The two teams trying to pull the rope towards their side is the basis of a tug-of-war competition. The force contained in a rope when a pull force is applied from both ends is the tension force. In absence of tension force, no one would be able to win the game.

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8. Pulling a block with the help of a rope

Suppose a block is tied with a rope and the rope is handed over to a person. When the person pulls the rope tension gets built and the rope gets taut. On the further application of pull force, the box starts to overcome the frictional force and move in the direction of the force applied. The person pulling the rope is not in direct contact with the block and is not able to transfer the force directly to the physical body. The rope becomes a medium and the force reaches the block indirectly. Thereby, causing the block to move.

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