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simple machine definitions

simple machine | definition, types, examples, list, & facts | britannica

simple machine | definition, types, examples, list, & facts | britannica

Simple machine, any of several devices with few or no moving parts that are used to modify motion and the magnitude of a force in order to perform work. They are the simplest mechanisms known that can use leverage (or mechanical advantage) to increase force. The simple machines are the inclined plane, lever, wedge, wheel and axle, pulley, and screw.

An inclined plane consists of a sloping surface; it is used for raising heavy bodies. The plane offers a mechanical advantage in that the force required to move an object up the incline is less than the weight being raised (discounting friction). The steeper the slope, or incline, the more nearly the required force approaches the actual weight. Expressed mathematically, the force F required to move a block D up an inclined plane without friction is equal to its weight W times the sine of the angle the inclined plane makes with the horizontal (). The equation is F = W sin .

A lever is a bar or board that rests on a support called a fulcrum. A downward force exerted on one end of the lever can be transferred and increased in an upward direction at the other end, allowing a small force to lift a heavy weight.

All early people used the lever in some form, for example, for moving heavy stones or as digging sticks for land cultivation. The principle of the lever was used in the swape, or shadoof, a long lever pivoted near one end with a platform or water container hanging from the short arm and counterweights attached to the long arm. A man could lift several times his own weight by pulling down on the long arm. This device is said to have been used in Egypt and India for raising water and lifting soldiers over battlements as early as 1500 bce.

A wedge is an object that tapers to a thin edge. Pushing the wedge in one direction creates a force in a sideways direction. It is usually made of metal or wood and is used for splitting, lifting, or tightening, as in securing a hammer head onto its handle.

The wedge was used in prehistoric times to split logs and rocks; an ax is also a wedge, as are the teeth on a saw. In terms of its mechanical function, the screw may be thought of as a wedge wrapped around a cylinder.

Its principle of operation is best explained by way of a device with a large gear and a small gear attached to the same shaft. The tendency of a force, F, applied at the radius R on the large gear to turn the shaft is sufficient to overcome the larger force W at the radius r on the small gear. The force amplification, or mechanical advantage, is equal to the ratio of the two forces (W:F) and also equal to the ratio of the radii of the two gears (R:r).

If the large and small gears are replaced with large- and small-diameter drums that are wrapped with ropes, the wheel and axle becomes capable of raising weights. The weight being lifted is attached to the rope on the small drum, and the operator pulls the rope on the large drum. In this arrangement the mechanical advantage is the radius of the large drum divided by the radius of the small drum. An increase in the mechanical advantage can be obtained by using a small drum with two radii, r1 and r2, and a pulley block. When a force is applied to the large drum, the rope on the small drum winds onto D and off of d.

A measure of the force amplification available with the pulley-and-rope system is the velocity ratio, or the ratio of the velocity at which the force is applied to the rope (VF) to the velocity at which the weight is raised (VW). This ratio is equal to twice the radius of the large drum divided by the difference in the radii of the smaller drums D and d. Expressed mathematically, the equation is VF/VW = 2R/(r2 - r1). The actual mechanical advantage W/F is less than this velocity ratio, depending on friction. A very large mechanical advantage may be obtained with this arrangement by making the two smaller drums D and d of nearly equal radius.

simple machine - definition of simple machine by the free dictionary

simple machine - definition of simple machine by the free dictionary

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simple machines six simple machines, explanation, faqs

simple machines six simple machines, explanation, faqs

Since the beginning of time, humans have developed devices and tools to make work easier. The most notable among these are the six simple machines: the inclined plane, the wheel and axle, the pulley, the lever, the screw,and the wedge.

A mechanical device that changes the direction or magnitude of a force is known as a simple machine. In general terms, they are defined as simple mechanisms that make use of leverage or mechanical advantage to multiply force. Simple machines have few or no moving parts to modify motion and force. Let us learn more about the six simple machines, in the next few sections.

An inclined plane consists of a sloping plane and is used to raise heavy bodies. Inclined planes make it easier to lift objects to greater heights. There are two ways to raise an object: they can be either raised by lifting it straight up or by pushing it diagonally up.

Lifting an object straight up moves the object in the shortest distance but a greater force must be exerted. Using an inclined plane to lift objects requires a smaller force but must be exerted over a long distance. A few everyday examples of inclined planes include sidewalk ramps, highway access ramps, inclined conveyor belts, and switchback roads.

Wheel and axle make work easier by moving objects across distances. The wheel and axle greatly reduce the friction involved in moving an object. The wheel (round ends) turns with the axle(or cylindrical post) causing movement. The wheel is one of the most significant inventions in the history of the world. Before the invention of wheels, the amount of load and the distance through which we could carry the load over land was limited. It is easier to roll a 2000 kilogram block of stone using logs placed underneath it than to push it.

Instead of an axle, a wheel could also rotate a rope, cord, or belt. The variation of the wheel and axle is the pulley. In a pulley, a cord wraps around a wheel. It is a simple machine that is used to change the direction of the force. When the wheel rotates, the cord can move in either of the directions. By attaching a hook to the cord, the wheels rotation can be used to raise or lower objects, making work easier. Various types of pulley help in making a variety of lifting and moving tasks easier. To hoist a flag on a flag pole, a pulley system is necessary. A rope is attached to the pulley to raise and lower the flag more easily.

A lever is a tool that is used to pry objects loose. Levers are also used to lift objects. A lever has an arm that turns against a fulcrum. Exerting a force on one end of the pivot creates a force on the other end of the lever. The applied force is either increased or decreased based on the distance from the fulcrum to the load, and from the fulcrum to the effort. A few examples of levers are the hammer that we used to pry nails loose and the kids favorite see-saw. To read about the different types of levers, click here.

An inclined plane wrapped around a shaft is known as a screw. The two primary functions of a screw are to hold things together or to lift objects. The threading around the shaft in a screw makes it an efficient tool to hold things together. The threads grip the surrounding material like teeth, resulting in a secure hold. A few examples of screws include screw, bolt, clamp, spinning stool, and spiral staircase. A car jack is an example of a screw being used to lift something.

A wedge is a simple machine that is used to break apart the substances by applying force. A nail is a common example of a wedge. In a nail, the force is applied to the wide head area. This applied force is concentrated in a small point area where the force is exerted. At this point, the force is magnified and enables the force to pierce through objects. As the nail sinks into the object, the wedge shape at the point of the nail moves forward and forces the object apart.

A compound machine is a device that combines two or more simple machines. A wheelbarrow is an example of a compound machine. In a wheelbarrow, the functionality of a wheel and axle is combined with that of a lever. Many compound machines can be formed using six basic simple machines. Some examples of compound machines are a can opener, shovel, and a jack. Review QuestionsA bottle cap is an example of which simple machine?Bottlecap is an example of a screw. The cap of the water bottle has a spiral shape. When you place it on the bottle and twist, the cap pulls itself toward the bottle.Is Broom a simple machine?Yes, the broom is an example of a lever. You pivot the handle of the broom at the top (fulcrum), push the handle near the middle (effort) so the bristles at the other end will sweep across the floor.What type of simple machine is a doorknob?A doorknob is an example of a wheel and axle. When you turn the large knob on the door, a rod on the inside releases the latch that holds the door closed. It would be difficult to turn the rod without the knob.

simple machine | definition of simple machine by merriam-webster

simple machine | definition of simple machine by merriam-webster

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'simple machine.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

simple machines for kids: definition & examples - video & lesson transcript

simple machines for kids: definition & examples - video & lesson transcript

Pretend that you are living on this world thousands of years ago as a caveman. There is no technology. There are no modern appliances. In fact, there are little to no inventions whatsoever. You have a job to do today: you need to get something that is stuck under a big boulder. The boulder is so heavy that it is difficult to move it on your own. There's nothing around to help you, except a stick. What would you do? The easiest thing to do would be to put the stick under the boulder, push down on the end of the stick to move the boulder and retrieve the stuck object. Well, some scientists believe that this is how simple machines got started.

Simple machines have few or no moving parts. Just like the stick, they use energy to work with one movement. Work is the amount of energy that is needed to move an object across a distance. Basically, when you pull, push or move something, you are performing work. The further you push, pull or move an object, the greater amount of work is needed.

There are six different types of simple machines: the inclined plane, the wedge, the screw, the lever, the pulley, and the wheel and axle. Each simple machine has a special way to make work easier for humans.

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The main advantage of using simple machines is to make work easier. They allow us to use less effort to move an object. While you are technically doing the same amount of work, simple machines make it feel a lot easier because it takes less effort. Effort is the force used to move an object, which is not the same thing as work.

Let's say you try to push over a concrete wall with your bare hands, which is impossible. This would take effort, but you haven't done any work because the object has not moved. Now, what if you wanted to pick up a feather from the floor? This would take almost no effort because the feathers are so light, but you've done work because you moved the feather.

Simple machines allow you to use a smaller force to push or pull an object, which is known as having a mechanical advantage. Think about how much more tired construction workers would be if they had to lift heavy pieces of concrete to make a building without a crane. Simple machines allow us to use less energy to get things done.

Simple machines also makes jobs more efficient, which saves us a lot of time. How long does it take someone to bring a load of laundry from the second floor to the first floor? Probably no more than a minute. What if there were no stairs to go down to the first floor? This would take much longer.

Slides and stairs are examples of inclined planes. See-saws are examples of levers, as well as the caveman's stick. As you learn more about the specific types of simple machines, you'll be able to identify examples, like your teeth that act like wedges!

Simple machines have few or no moving parts. They make work, which is the amount of energy that's needed to move an object across a distance, easier for us by allowing us to use less effort, the force used to move an object. There are six types of simple machines (inclined plane, wheel and axle, lever, pulley, wedge, and screw) and you can spot them in different parts of your daily life. See if you can find some today!

In this activity, the student will make a simple machine, the pulley. Observations of the pulley's mechanism will be noted. The materials, procedure, and assessment of the activity are described in the next section.

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