• Determination of the catenary of a free-hanging cable
    • under dead-weight only
    • with additional weights
    • with a symmetrical setup (chain wheels at same height)
    • with an unsymmetrical setup
  • Measurement of the sag.
  • Comparison of calculated and measured values.


  • Determination of the catenary of a free-hanging cable.
  • Symmetrical and unsymmetrical experimental setup possible.
  • Roller chain as cable with 2 ball bearing-mounted chain wheels.
  • Adjustable chain wheel axle spacing.
  • Height of a chain wheel adjustable for unsymmetrical experimental setup.
  • Cross-arm with scale to hold chain wheels and rule to measure vertical sag of chain.
  • 2 graduated weight sets.
  • Storage system to house the components.
  • Experimental setup in frame.

Free-hanging cables and ropes are often used to support a structure, such as stay cables. They serve as the structure’s load-bearing component on suspension bridges. Due of the cable’s comparably low weight to the other loads, its influence on many calculations can be ignored. However, in the case of overhead power lines, the deadweight of the cable is important for the pylon design. A free-hanging cable under the influence of its own deadweight is examined in Cable Under Dead-Weight. The chain wheel is supported by two ball bearings and has a roller chain attached on it as the cable. The chain wheel units are fixed to a cross-arm. Both the horizontal and vertical distance between the chain wheel axles can be changed. The chain’s ends can each have a weight attached to them. Scaled rules are used to calculate the maximum sag, which can then be compared to calculated values. The sag is the separation between the bearings’ connecting line and the catenary. The experiment’s component parts are all clearly organized and safely stored in a storage system. The frame contains the entire experimental setup. The clearly organized course materials outline the principles and offer a step-by-step description of the experiments.