Rigging Science: The Physics Behind the Block and Tackle

Mytee Products carries a full inventory of rigging supplies covering everything from blocks to turnbuckles and shackles. All of that is well and good, but sometimes it is helpful to understand the physics behind rigging principals. Understanding makes for safer lifts.

In light of that, we thought it might be interesting to discuss the physics behind the block and tackle principal. The block and tackle represents one of the easiest ways to lift extremely heavy loads with very little force. Block and tackle setups have been used for centuries by cultures all over the world.

The Block and Tackle Defined

A block and tackle isn’t a single piece of equipment. Instead, it is a particular kind of rigging set-up that includes multiple pulleys and some sort of means to lift the load – be it rope, wire, chain, etc. The most basic setup utilizes at least two pulleys with a rope or wire running between them.

The pulleys in a block and tackle system can be located close together or at a distance. Locations are chosen based on the nature of the lift. The pulleys on a crane might be close together while those in the warehouse rigging system are farther apart.

The Principle of Lifting Force

Physics dictates that a certain amount of force is required to lift a load off the ground. The heavier the load, the more force required. The lifting force has to be either equal to or greater than the weight of the load.

For example, imagine you are lifting a 200-pound load using a single pulley and a 200 ft. rope. You have to apply a minimum of 200 pounds of force in order to get the load off the ground. All 200 pounds will be carried by that single pulley. Also note that the amount of force you need is inversely related to the length of your rope.

If your rope is 100 feet long, more force will be required. The opposite is true if your rope is longer than 200 feet. What does this tell you? It tells you that a longer rope and more pulleys should require less lifting force from you.

Sharing the Load among Blocks

Remember that a block and tackle system utilizes multiple pulleys (or blocks) for lifting. Each of those blocks takes some of the weight of the load. So once again, let us assume a 200-pound load and two blocks in your system. Each block carries half the weight, or 100 pounds. Using the same 200-foot rope now means you only have to apply 100 pounds of lifting force instead of 200.

Introduce a third block into the system and you reduce the total weight carried by each block yet again. Instead of 100 pounds per block, you are now in the neighborhood of 70 pounds.

In theory, you can continue adding blocks and lengthening the rope to make your load even easier to lift. In practice though, there is a tipping point. Additional blocks and longer rope create resistance. Make your block and tackle system too big and the amount of resistance in the system could make it impossible to lift the load anyway. So there is a balance between distributing the weight and minimizing resistance.

Distributing the Load

The simplest way to understand the physics of a block and tackle system is to understand that each block in the system takes part of the load. It is all about load distribution. Greater distribution means less lifting force to get a load off the ground. That’s about it in a nutshell.


A Grille Guard by Any Other Name Is Still a Grille Guard

The grille guards we sell to truck drivers are based on an idea that has been around for decades. In other words, grille guards are not new technology. But today they constitute one of the hottest trends among American truckers. Larger numbers of truckers are sporting grille guards to protect the front ends of their trucks and make them look better at the same time.

Did you know that the term ‘grille guard’ is not the only term used to describe these devices? There are other terms as well, used interchangeably around the country. We will look at some of those names in this post. If you are looking for a grille guard for your truck, we invite you to check out our inventory. We may have just what you’re looking for.

Grille Guards

The name ‘grille guard’ has really become a generic term that covers all the different kinds of guards you could mount on the front of a truck. This is what causes some confusion among consumers. Technically speaking, a grille guard is any kind of guard that covers the grill area of a four wheeled vehicle. However, the existence of some of the other names for this product has led to ‘grille guard’ being a bit more specific.

A grille guard, as opposed to a bull or cow guard, tends to go across the entire front area of the truck. It protects the grill, bumper, and front lights.

Bull and Cow Guards

Two other names for the grille guard are bull and cow guard. No one knows for sure where these names came from, but many speculate they come from ranching. The idea here is that you put a guard on the front of your truck to protect it against minor collisions with bulls and cows in the field. Given that pickup trucks have replaced horses on many modern ranches, this makes a lot of sense.

The one thing to note about bull and cow guards is that they may not cover the entire front area of the truck. Smaller guards cover only the grill area. Some even come with skid plates that protect the underside of the truck from things like rocks and tree stumps.

Brush Guards

The term ‘brush guard’ is another with unknown origins. It is believed that the term originated as a way to describe a piece of equipment that would protect the front of the vehicle as it moves through tall grass and brush. A brush guard may or may not cover the entire front of the vehicle on which it is mounted.

The Name Doesn’t Really Matter

At the end of the day, the name of the guard you choose doesn’t really matter. What matters is that your grille guard fits your truck properly and provides the kind of protection you want. To that end, note that grille guards do not require cutting or drilling to install.

Grille guards are designed for specific makes and models of vehicles. As such, a guard manufactured for one type of truck may not easily mount on another without modification. That’s why we recommend only buying a grille guard manufactured for your make and model.

If you have any questions about our grille guards, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would be more than happy to help you find a guard for your truck. And while we’re here, we would like to offer you a full selection of truck tarps, rigging supplies, towing supplies, and more. We are your one-stop shop for all your cargo control needs.


Demolition Tarps vs. Dumpsters: Which Is Right for You?

Demolition projects produce waste. How you get rid of that waste is where the real challenge is. If you are working a small project that only produces a handful of timbers and some drywall, you might be able to put the waste out with your weekly trash. Anything more and you will need either a dumpster or demolition tarp.

Dumpsters and demo tarps are the best means of disposal when you’re working on full room demolitions. For example, you might be remodeling your kitchen from floor to ceiling. Between the old cabinets, countertops, and all the timber and drywall, your weekly trash pickup is not going to be adequate.

If you run a construction company specializing in remodeling projects, you will not get away with the weekly trash haul either. So the question becomes one of dumpster versus demo tarp. Which one is right for you?

Yardage vs. Weight

One of the key differences between dumpsters and demolition tarps is how capacity is measured. Dumpster capacity is measured in cubic yards or feet. It is pretty simple. Dumpster providers measure the amount of empty space inside a unit and call that the capacity. They don’t worry much about weight for the most part.

Demolition tarps, on the other hand, are rated by weight. This is done out of necessity. Because a demo tarp lays flat on the ground, there’s no way to measure its capacity in cubic feet or yards. Moreover, a demolition tarps has to be lifted off the ground and loaded onto a truck. As such, the weight of the load is more important than its volume.

 

Things to Consider When Making Your Choice

Now that you know how dumpsters and demolition tarps are rated in terms of capacity, let’s talk about making the best choice for your needs. There are a few things to consider:

1. Waste Volume

Despite the fact that demolition tarps are rated by weight, you still have to consider volume. Let’s say you order a 10-yard dumpster. If the total volume of your demolition waste rises too high above the top of the dumpster, your provider may not be able to pick it up and carry it away. So when volume is a concern, demo tarps might be a better option.

2. Number of Uses

A dumpster is a single use product for your purposes. You are only going to rent a dumpster once on any given construction project. If you are a contractor and you prefer using dumpsters, you will have to arrange dumpster rental for every project.

On the other hand, a good demolition tarp can be used on multiple jobs. You just have to make sure you get the tarp back after the waste is hauled away. Or you may choose to dispose of your tarps along with the waste. In such cases you would have to compare the cost of a disposable demo tarp against that of dumpster rental.

Length of Use

The next consideration is the length of time you will be using your waste disposal solution. If demo is going to take several days, consider the weather. A dumpster will collect water and so may add to your disposal costs based on weight. You might also have to pay more for dumpster rental if you need it for more than a couple of days.

There are other considerations, including local ordinances and the amount of space you have to work with. At any rate, we believe demolition tarps are a better option in many cases. They may be the right option for you as well.


Key Features to Look for in Your RV Cover

In your quest for an RV or trailer cover, note this: the features you choose are important. An RV or trailer cover is not just a piece of canvas you throw over the top of your rig at the end of the season. It is a tool for protecting your RV or trailer whenever it’s not in use. The better the tool, the better job it will do.

You can purchase generic RV and trailer covers or covers custom-made for your particular make and model. Whether generic or custom, you should be looking for certain features. Those listed below are the ones we believe are most important.

1. Adequate UV Protection

We assume you are purchasing an RV or trailer cover because you will be storing your rig outside. As such, we recommend not settling for something that doesn’t offer adequate UV protection. Ultraviolet rays can damage seals around windows and doors. They can be harmful to your AC unit and fade the finish.

A good cover offers adequate UV protection, especially on the top panel. If you do not understand how UV protection is rated, do some online research before you buy. You will do better with a cover that has a higher UV rating.

2. Built-In Air Vents

One reason for using a cover is to keep out moisture that would otherwise promote mold and mildew growth. As such, look for a cover with built-in air vents. A cover with no vents will allow moisture to be trapped inside. And yes, you can end up with trapped moisture due solely to condensation. You need vents that promote air circulation and allow moisture to evaporate.

3. Zipper Access to Doors and Windows

From a practical standpoint, a good RV or trailer cover offers zippered access to at least the rig’s a side door. Access to windows – and motor compartments on RVs – doesn’t hurt either. Zippered access lets you get into the unit without having to remove the entire cover.

A lot of generic trailer and RV covers offer multiple access points on the sides. That way, you don’t necessarily have to measure exactly where doors and windows are. You have access all the way around the unit.

4. Reinforced Seams and Corners

An RV or trailer cover without reinforced seams and corners is one that is more likely to tear. Need we say more?

5. Adjustable Tension Panels and Elastic Corners

An RV cover is only as good as its fit. As such, look for one with two key features: adjustable tension panels on the front and rear and elastic corners.

The adjustable panels allow you to apply the appropriate tension at the front and rear of your rig in order to keep the cover securely in place. You do not want it flapping in the wind. As for the elastic corners, they tuck around the bottom of the rig the same way a fitted sheet tucks under the bottom of a mattress. Elastic corners keep everything in place.

We personally recommend RV and trailer covers made with ripstop polyester fabric. Others prefer canvas, but ripstop polyester is lighter and easier to deploy. It is also easier to keep clean.

Mytee Products is proud to carry multiple models of RV and trailer covers. Once you know the measurements of your rig, feel free to browse our inventory of covers suitable for your particular setup. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us before you purchase. Our goal is to make sure you get the right cover for your RV or trailer.


Parachute Tarps: The Fuzzy History of Ripstop Nylon

Sometimes, knowing the history of a product helps us to utilize it to its fullest potential. As such, we tried to figure out the history of ripstop nylon as it relates to the parachute tarps we sell. Unfortunately, that history is somewhat fuzzy. What we do know tells us just what makes ripstop nylon such a great material for truck tarps.

For the record, ripstop fabric does not have to nylon. You can buy ripstop fabric as canvas, polyester, and even silk. Nylon is the preferred choice for ripstop fabric because of its unique properties relating to weatherproofing and weight. With all that said, let us talk a little bit about history.

Ripstop and WWII

As best as we can tell from our research, the idea behind ripstop fabric was first proposed during World War II. Those in charge of making combat uniforms and parachutes wanted a material that would be more resistant to rips and tears on the battlefield. They also wanted a material that was lighter.

A year before the start of the war, DuPont introduced a revolutionary synthetic thread it called nylon. This revolutionary thread turned out to be the first commercially successful synthetic thread despite its predecessor, rayon, having been pushed as a replacement for expensive silk.

DuPont’s original plan for nylon did not involve military applications. Instead, it was thought that nylon revolutionized the fashion industry. That didn’t stop the military from looking at it as an option for parachutes.

Parachutes but Not Uniforms

Nylon did end up taking off as material for parachutes during the war. Parachute designers came up with a new ripstop weave that became the precursor of modern ripstop, but nylon fabric would largely disappear from the fashion scene following World War II. It was never seriously considered as a material for uniforms.

At the same time, DuPont really wanted nylon thread to be its mainstay for women’s hosiery. That was their original plan for nylon. So they began pitching the thread, eventually deciding to license it to third-party producers in 1951. Although it enjoyed fairly good success in the hosiery market, nylon thread wasn’t seen as practical or attractive for the rest of the fashion industry.

Nylon’s use as an industrial material continued through the 1950s, 60s and 70s, until the outdoor industry brought it back to front and center as a material for all sorts of camping gear. By the late 1970s, nylon was everywhere.

Parachutes, hang glider wings, etc. were dominated by ripstop nylon. And by the 1980s, ripstop weaves had been perfected. The same weaves preventing rips and tears in parachutes were making tents, backpacks, lean-tos, and camping chairs lightweight and strong. It was only a matter of time before ripstop nylon became a favorite material for tarps.

Modern Ripstop Nylon

Fast-forward to 2019 and the modern ripstop nylon we use today is the best iteration of the product ever. Not only is ripstop nylon still the material of choice for parachutes, it is also used heavily throughout multiple industries, ranging from outdoor gear to logistics.

Ripstop nylon is changing the way we do things in the trucking industry as well. For the longest time, truck drivers have been looking for a tarp material that is lighter and easier to deploy under a variety of weather conditions. Ripstop nylon is that material. It is more durable than vinyl and significantly lighter than canvas. It offers the best of both worlds.

How fascinating that a thread originally intended for the fashion world evolved to become a fabric used in parachutes and truck tarps. And now you know.