The Physics
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Acceleration of an Elevator, Cable

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Serway, Raymond A., Faughn, Jerry S., Moses, Clement J. College Physics. Sixth Edition Pacific Grove, California: Thomson Learning, 2003. "For example if the weight of the fish is 40.0 N and a is upward so that ay = +2.00 m/s2 then the scale reading is from (1) is…. If a is downward so that ay = −2.00 m/s2 the (2) gives us…." ± 2.00 m/s2
Equivalence Principle Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, 2001. "For example an observer in an elevator going upward with an acceleration equal to that produced by the gravitational pull of the Earth would see any object that was dropped fall to the floor of the elevator as exactly the same way that it would fall to Earth." 9.8 m/s2
B.B. Muvdi, Amir Wadi Al- Khafaji, J.W. McNabb Dynamics for Engineers. Springer, 1997. "When the elevator moves up with an acceleration a = 1.5 m/s2 the total spring deformation including the equilibrium deformation are found to be 0.02 m each." 1.5 m/s2
Ervin Siney Ferry General Physics and its application to industry and everyday life, 1921. "A elevator starts to descend with an acceleration of 3 m per sec in a sec." 3 m/s2
Baptiste, Amos. Experiment Conducted in Thompson Reuters Building, New York City. 22 May 2009. Click here for data table 1.
See graph 1 below.
−0.95 to +1.29 m/s2
(going down)
Click here for data table 2.
See graph 2 below.
+1.15 to −1.18 m/s2
(going up)

Acceleration is the rate of change in velocity with the respect to time. An elevator, also called a lift is a mechanical vehicle that moves vertically. Its main purpose is to transport people or goods to other floors in a building. Cable elevators are powered by electric motors that have traction cables and counterweight systems. Elevators powered by cables are used in building or skyscrapers that are taller then 5 stories. In cabled elevators, the car is raised and lowered by traction steel ropes rather than pushed from below (hydraulic). The cables area attached to the elevator, and looped around a pulley. The pulley is connected to an electric motor and when the motor turns one way, the pulley raises the elevator and lowers when turned the other way. The cables that lift the elevator are also connected to a counterweight, which hangs on the other side of the pulley. When the elevator is 40 percent full, the counterweight and the elevator are perfectly balanced. The purpose of this balance is to conserve energy.

In experiment 1 and 2, I rode a cable elevator at Thompson Reuters using an accelerometer connected through a TI-83 calculator with a LabPro. It calculated the elevators acceleration in sample intervals of 0.1 seconds for 20 seconds. In the first graph of experiment 1, the elevator was going down from the 16th floor to the 2nd floor. The acceleration vs. time graph shows that the peak acceleration of the elevator was −1.400 m/s2 at 9.1 s then goes at a constant velocity and decelerate to 1.288 m/s2 at 17.20 s. In experiment 2, I rose the elevator up from the 2nd floor to the 16th floor. The elevator has a peak acceleration of 1.148 m/s2 at 1.3s goes to a constant velocity and decelerates to 1.178 m/s2 at 18.7s.

Amos Baptiste -- 2009