Simple machines are extremely important to everyday life. They make stuff that is normally difficult a piece of cake. There are several types of simple machines. The first simple machine is a lever. A lever consists of a fulcrum, load, and effort force. A fulcrum is the support. The placing of the fulcrum changes the amount of force and distance it will take in order to move an object. The load is the applied force. The effort force is the force applied on the opposite side of the load.
Levers can be placed in three classes. The 1st class levers are objects like pliers where the fulcrum is at the center of the lever. The 2nd class of levers are objects that have the fulcrum on the opposite side of the applied force like a nutcracker. The 3rd and final class is objects like crab claws. These objects of the load at one end and the fulcrum on the other.
An inclined plane is another simple machine.
Inclined planes are also known as ramps. Ramps make a trade off between distance and force. No matter how steep the ramp, the work is still the same. A winding road on a mountain side is a good example of a ramp. Some simple machines are modified inclined planes. The wedge is one of those machines. One or two inclined planes make up a wedge. Saws, knives,needles, and axes are made from wedges. The screw is another modified inclined plane. Screws decrease the force but increase the distance.
The ridges are called threads. A couple of simple machines are made with wheels. The wheel and axle is one of these machines.
These are made with a rod joined to the center of a wheel. They can either increase distance or force, depending on the size of the wheel. The pulley is another machine that uses wheels. The are a wheel with a groove in the center with a rope or chain stretched around it. The load attaches to one end and the effort is applied to the other on all pulleys. There are two types of pulleys. The fixed pulley stays in one place while the wheel spins. Movable pulleys attach to objects. Several pulleys can be used at one time. A good example of a pulley system is an escalator. Simple machines make up compound machines. We use these machines daily. Life would be difficult without simple machines.
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