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This animation enables you to compare the properties of a fixed pulley with those of a pulley system. One pulley enables you to change the direction in which a force acts. Associated  with one or several other pulleys (compound devices) the pulley enables one to reduce the force needed to lift a mass.

Note that the distance the mass is displaced is reduced by a factor identical to the factor of reduction of the force.  Thus, for a system with two pulleys, the force needed is halved, but the so is the height of displacement.  Energy is thus conserved.

Note: The friction and weight of the cord and the fasteners is ignored.

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