Everyone is accustomed to many set-ups of Atwood machine; sometimes the question asks about acceleration of the blocks or so; sometimes they ask about tension etcetera.
But one thing I couldn't understand is how at sometimes, tension balances the weight of a mass while at other times, it can't.
I was viewing some worked-out problems of my previous-year class & saw this one:
The mass of the part of the string below a certain point $A$ is $m$. A block of mass $M$ is attached to the lower end of the string. Find the tension in the string at the lower end & at $A$ when
$\bullet$ $M$ is at rest.
$\bullet$ $M$ descends with acceleration $a$.
The answers are quite simple; for first part the tensions at $A$ & at the lower end are $(M+m)g$ & $Mg$ respectively & for the second case tension at $A$ is $(M + m)(g -a)$ & at the lower point is $M(g-a)$.
The author wrote for the first case as the block is in equilibrium, using the 1st law & for the later case, as the block descends with acceleration, using Newton's 2nd law. Okay, he is right.
But why is the tension different for the two cases? Anyone should say that at the later case an additional downward force is applied on the block so that it descends with acceleration $a$, but why can't then the rope balance that extra force? When the extra force is applied on the block, definitely it stretched the rope which would create tension; can't it balance that extra force on the block & prevent it from accelerating?
So, why does, at one case, tension balanced $M$ but in the other case didn't balance it?
What I am missing. Could anyone explain?