Simple machines are tools that assist us in our task. Six basic devices are available. The lever, inclined plane, screw, wedge, wheel and axle, and pulley are examples. To access this solution, you must first become a member of Study.com.
A machine with minimal or no moving components that is used to facilitate work (and provides a mechanical advantage). A wedge, wheel and axle, lever, inclined plane, screw, or pulley, for example. Machines are useful because they can do work that humans cannot. With some machines, such as the windup motor car, humans can operate them.
All types of machinery depend on some kind of force to produce their effect. For example, a wedge depends on gravity and friction to perform its function. A screw works by turning, which creates axial force which turns another part, called a nut. This type of machine is known as a rotary machine because the axis about which the parts turn is called the "rotation" or "axis of rotation". Other kinds of machine include hydraulic presses, pneumatic pumps, and electric motors.
Simple machines can be used to explain many different concepts in science and technology. For example, a pulley system can be used to lift heavy objects or move objects over long distances. Or, a wheel and axle system can be used to give a vehicle traction when it needs it most: when you drive onto ice or mud. Such examples are only possible because of the simplicity of the underlying mechanism. In general, any device that uses simple mechanisms to accomplish tasks that would otherwise require more complex ones is called a "machine."
Machines can be basic, consisting of only one or a few pieces. Simple machines include the inclined plane, wedge, screw, lever, wheel and axle, gear, and pulley. Many machines are made up of multiple basic machines. These complicated devices assist humans in performing activities that are tough, repetitive, dangerous, or simply dull. Examples include cranes, drills, and presses. Machines have also been designed to perform tasks that were previously done by hand. Such machines are called automatons because they carry out tasks automatically, like robots today.
Screws are mechanical devices used to transmit rotary motion from one part to another without the use of gears. This is accomplished by engaging both parts with each other as a helix turns about its axis. Modern screws are often made by cutting threads into the surface of a metal rod and then coating the rod with oil or wax to prevent corrosion. The thread shape is usually right-handed or left-handed depending on whether the screw is being used with a clockwise or counterclockwise rotation. Screws are used in many applications including appliances, machinery, and tools. They can also be found in household items such as light switches and faucets where they connect two objects that need to be moved relative to each other.
The wheel and axle, pulley, inclined plane, screw, wedge, and lever are all examples of simple machines that are commonly utilized. While basic machines can amplify or diminish the forces that can be applied to them, they have no effect on the overall amount of effort required to complete the activity. More complex machines such as engines or motors can change the amount of energy required to operate them.
All machines consist of two parts: a body which contains the mechanism for applying force to an object and a driving device for moving this body. For example, the body of a hammer is its handle while the mechanism which applies force to the object is the head. The driving device could be a hand or motor-powered tool. Machines can be divided up into three main categories based on the way in which they transform input energy into output work: hydraulic, pneumatic, and mechanical.
Hydraulic machines use fluid pressure to drive components within the machine. These components include motors, pumps, and valves. Hydraulic machines can be further divided up into two subcategories: open circuit and closed circuit. Open circuit machines rely on external sources of water for operation while closed circuit machines contain their own source of water for operation. Some examples of closed circuit hydraulic machines include backhoes, cranes, and bulldozers.
Pneumatic machines use air pressure to drive components within the machine. These components include motors, drills, saws, and grinders.
The inclined plane, lever, wedge, wheel and axle, pulley, and screw are examples of basic machines. These six mechanical devices all perform similar functions; that is, they each transform energy from one form to another.
In addition to these six machines, the compass is also considered a simple machine for its ability to convert angular motion into circular motion. The word "simple" here refers to its lack of complexity - it is not an electric machine for example. A dynamometer is used to measure the load on a motor or other machinery powered by electricity.
Electric motors are composed of multiple parts which function together to produce a torque on a shaft. They are not simple machines because they contain many complex parts such as magnets, coils, and rotors. In fact, most electrical machines use components including coils, rotors, and magnets to produce various effects such as rotation, power transmission, or electromagnets.
Dynamos were the first electric generators and thus simple machines because they include a single component: a rotating magnet. This magnetic field produces current in a coil wrapped around a support structure. Such structures can be found in electric motors today and they are known as armatures.