Cable under dead-weight (SE110.50)

catenary of a free-hanging cable under dead-weight



  • Free-hanging cables and ropes are often used to support a structure, such as stay cables.
  • On suspension bridges they are the load-bearing element of the structure.
  • In many calculations the influence of the dead-weight of the cable can be ignored, because it is low compared to the other loads.
  • In the case of overhead power lines, however, the dead-weight of the cable is relevant to the design of the pylons.
  • In SE 110.50a free-hanging cable under the influence of its own dead-weight is investigated.
  • A roller chain serves as the cable, and is mounted on two ball bearing-supported chain wheels.
  • The chain wheel units are fixed to a cross-arm.
  • The spacing between the chain wheel axles can be adjusted horizontally and vertically.
  • Weights can be attached to both ends of the chain.
  • The maximum sag is measured using scaled rules, and can be compared with calculated values.
  • The sag is the distance between the connecting line of the supports and the catenary (see also illustration: “Actual applied cable forces” on the next page).
  • All the component elements of the experiment are clearly laid-out and housed securely in a storage system.
  • The complete experimental setup is arranged in the frame SE 112.

Technical Details:


  1. determination of the catenary of a free-hanging cable
  2. symmetrical and unsymmetrical experimental setup possible
  3. roller chain as cable with 2 ball bearing-mounted chain wheels
  4. adjustable chain wheel axle spacing
  5. height of a chain wheel adjustable for unsymmetrical experimental setup
  6. cross-arm with scale to hold chain wheels and rule to measure vertical sag of chain
  7. 2 hangers to load the ends of the chain
  8. storage system to house the components
  9. experimental setup in frame SE 112

Technical Data:

Roller chain:

  • DIN 8187
  • length: 2400mm
  • weight: 0,95kg/m

Chain wheel, number of teeth: 17


  • axle base: 600…1000mm
  • groove spacing: 50mm


  • adjustable height of chain wheel: 0…300mm
  • hole spacing: 50mm


  • 2x 1N (hanger)
  • 8x 1N
  • 6x 5N

Measuring ranges:

  • horizontal: 0…1000mm
  • vertical: 0…850mm
  • graduation: 1mm

Dimensions & Weight:

  • L x W x H: 1170x480x178mm (storage system)
  • Weight: approx. 29kg (total)

Learning Objections/Experiments:

  • 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

Scope of Delivery:

  • 1 roller chain
  • 1 cross-arm with clamp
  • 2 chain wheels with holders
  • 1 rule
  • 1 set of weights
  • 1 storage system with foam inlay
  • 1 set of instructional material


·         Required: SE 112 Mounting frame


Due to the continuous development of our products, the goods supplied may vary in detail to that illustrated on this Website.