How Does an Elevator Work?
Modern elevators hang from strong steel cables and work just like a pulley. Powerful electric motors at the top of the elevator shaft turn a large pulley wheel that hauls the elevator car up and down between steel guide rails.
A heavy counterweight hangs from the other end of the cables. It balances the weight of the elevator car so that the pulley can function, and the car can be moved.
As the car goes up, the counterweight goes down. In an automatic elevator, a computer keeps track of the entire floor numbers selected. It controls the motor and stops the car for people at all the right floors.
When you push the button inside the elevator, you activate the motor. A motor can turn the wheel in either direction so that the elevator either goes up or down (with the weight doing the opposite).
When the motor stops, the grooves in the pulley wheel keep the rope in place so the elevator stops moving.