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Simple Machines

Calculate ideal and actual mechanical advantage of the six simple machines

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The Rock

Credit: Howard Dickins
Source: Howard Dickins
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

A Simple Machine [Figure1]

Simple Machine

When you think of a machine, you might think of something complex with gears and a lot of moving parts. Machines can actually be as simple as a piece of wood leaning against the opening of a truck. A machine simply modifies the force used and distance traveled to achieve a task. The same amount of work is used in the same task done by a machine.

Creative Applications

You are trying to lift a heavy rock, and you decide you will try to build a machine to do it.

1. Would you want to increase the distance and decrease the force, or increase the force and decrease the distance to make the rock easier lift?

2. What is one way you could increase the force required? What is one way you could increase the distance?

3. Why does the amount of work used to complete a task remain constant?

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  1. [1]^ Credit: Howard Dickins; Source: Howard Dickins; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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