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The simple mechanical elements that comprise complex machines, like robots, are described.

Complex machines are made up of moving parts such as levers, gears, cams, cranks, springs, belts, andwheels. Machines deliver a certain type of movement to a desired location from an input force applied somewhere else. Somemachines simply convert one type of motion to another type, such as rotary to linear. While there is a seemingly endless varietyof machines, they are all based upon simple machine elements. The elements discussed here include inclined planes, levers, wheels and axles,pulleys, and screws.

It is important to remember that all machines are limited in their efficiency by friction. No machine is 100 percent efficientin its efforts, so the mechanical advantage gained will require additional energy to accomplish the task. For more information on friction, see this module

The inclined plane

An inclined plane decreases the force required to raise an object a given height byincreasing the distance over which that force must be applied, see . Imagine lifting something twice your weight to a 4 foot high shelf. Now imagine rolling the same mass up a gentlysloping surface. The latter would be much easier. Inclined planes are commonly put to use in cutting devices and oftentwo inclined planes are put back to back to form a wedge. In a wedge, forward movement is converted into a parting movementacting perpendicular to the face of the blade. A zipper is simply a combination of two lower wedges for closing and an upper wedge for opening, as shown in .

Inclined Plane
The Inclined Plane at Work

The screw

The Screw

The screw is basically an inclined plane (see ) wrapped around a cylinder. In an inclined plane, a linear force in thehorizontal plane is converted to a vertical "lifting" force. With a screw, a rotary force in the horizontal plane isconverted to a vertical "lifting" force.

When a wood screw is turned, the threads of the screw push up on the wood. A reaction force from the woodpushes back down on the screw threads and in this way the screw moves down even though the force of turning the screw isin the horizontal plane. Screws are known for high friction, which is why they are used to hold things together. A worm gear is sometimes used in machines, but they also have high friction that can waste considerable power.


A lever has three points of interest: the fulcrum, the load, and the effort applied to the lever. The fulcrum is the point around which the lever pivots rotationally. The load is what we wish to manipulate with the lever, and the load is described by its position relative to the fulcrum, and the force (magnitude and direction) it exerts at that point.The effort is also a force that has a magnitude and a direction, and a position with respect to the fulcrum. A leveris used to change the direction of movement, and to trade the magnitude of the effort for the distance over whichthe effort is applied.

Classes of Levers

Questions & Answers

can someone help me with some logarithmic and exponential equations.
Jeffrey Reply
sure. what is your question?
okay, so you have 6 raised to the power of 2. what is that part of your answer
I don't understand what the A with approx sign and the boxed x mean
it think it's written 20/(X-6)^2 so it's 20 divided by X-6 squared
I'm not sure why it wrote it the other way
I got X =-6
ok. so take the square root of both sides, now you have plus or minus the square root of 20= x-6
oops. ignore that.
so you not have an equal sign anywhere in the original equation?
Commplementary angles
Idrissa Reply
im all ears I need to learn
right! what he said ⤴⤴⤴
what is a good calculator for all algebra; would a Casio fx 260 work with all algebra equations? please name the cheapest, thanks.
Kevin Reply
a perfect square v²+2v+_
Dearan Reply
kkk nice
Abdirahman Reply
algebra 2 Inequalities:If equation 2 = 0 it is an open set?
Kim Reply
or infinite solutions?
The answer is neither. The function, 2 = 0 cannot exist. Hence, the function is undefined.
Embra Reply
if |A| not equal to 0 and order of A is n prove that adj (adj A = |A|
Nancy Reply
rolling four fair dice and getting an even number an all four dice
ramon Reply
Kristine 2*2*2=8
Bridget Reply
Differences Between Laspeyres and Paasche Indices
Emedobi Reply
No. 7x -4y is simplified from 4x + (3y + 3x) -7y
Mary Reply
is it 3×y ?
Joan Reply
J, combine like terms 7x-4y
Bridget Reply
im not good at math so would this help me
Rachael Reply
I'm not good at math so would you help me
what is the problem that i will help you to self with?
how do you translate this in Algebraic Expressions
linda Reply
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
Crystal Reply
. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
Chris Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply
the Beer law works very well for dilute solutions but fails for very high concentrations. why?
bamidele Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, An introduction to mechanical engineering for high school students. OpenStax CNX. Feb 08, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10640/1.1
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