Atwood's Machine 2D

The Atwood's Machine 2D Interactive provides an environment that allows the learner to explore two-mass systems. An Atwood's machine (two masses connected by a string that stretches over a pulley) and a modified version of the Atwood's machine (one or both of the masses is on a horizontal or angled surface) can be explored. The environment allows a user to change the mass values, change the g value, change the initial velocity, introduce friction into surface, change the rotational inertia of the pulley, alter the angle of the surfaces, and view the resulting acceleration. The simulation includes nine different scenarios to explore, with each scenario becoming incrementally more complex than the previous.

Launch Interactive

Users are encouraged to open the Interactive and explore. There is currently no pre-written activity to accompany this Interactive. 

Learners and Instructors may also be interested in viewing the accompanying Notes page. Technical information, teaching suggestions, and related resources that complement this Interactive are provided on the Notes page. View Notes.

We owe a special thanks to Physics teacher Martin Kirby for donating the Atwood's Machine 2D Simulator to our Interactives collection. Martin has contributed many other simulations to our Interactives collection. You can view them all by visiting our page listing all Martin Kirby Simulations. Or visit Martin's website ( to learn more.