Theory of hitches

Benjamin F Bayman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


If one end of a rope is tied to a pole and the other end is pulled, the hitch may slip or it may hold fast. In this paper, we present a method of predicting which will happen. The topology of the hitch determines an inequality involving the coefficients of friction characteristic of the rope and pole. If this inequality is satisfied, the different turns of the hitch press on each other, and on the pole, to produce a self-locking unit that can withstand an arbitrarily strong pull.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-190
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1977


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