Components of Two Strings

Why is this situation with an object being held up by two ropes so tricky for students? So many of them try to turn the two upward rope components into one, like the group in the second picture shown!

This group got it, but they assumed that the magnitude of force exerted by each rope was identical. True if it’s one rope and there’s no friction, but then again…

If we’re truly treating the rope as one ropes wouldn’t the force exerted on an “explorer” hanging from the rope be as simple as this? To truly see the increase in force magnitude, you need to analyze the “tension”, which hasn’t actually been carefully defined in my class… Maybe it’s simpler to just change the “explorer” to a “gymnast”, and state that there are indeed two separate ropes?

##bfpm ##setbacks ##whiteboarding ##physicsfirst