Cables are one of the common structures studied in a first-year engineering mechanics course (statics), since the flexible cable is one of the usual methods of supporting loads. For example, the suspension bridge has been used for many centuries and is perhaps the best example of the use of cables in engineering. In this paper, we describe a simple laboratory experiment, appropriate for undergraduate students, to analyze a cable under the action of a system of concentrated external forces. The shape of the cable is measured using graduated rules. The resultant of the system of applied forces and its line of action, reactions at supports and tensions in the segments of the cable are obtained using three different procedures-experimental, graphical and analytical-with good agreement being found between them all
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