Basic mechanical principles

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For those of you who are interested in mechanical devices, I’d like to introduce to you the six simple machines: The lever, wheel & axle, pulley, inclined plane, wedge and screw. It is helpful to understand how all of these things work as it will help you to understand how complicated machines work using the same principles.

IMPOrTANT TErMS

Before we start talking about simple machines there are two important terms you will need to know:

FORCE: Force can be a push or a pull. For example, if you pull on the handle of a wagon or cart you are exerting a pulling force. Also, if you push a door open, you are exerting a pushing force on the door.

WORK: Work is force over a distance. For example, lifting a bucket of water requires you to exert a pulling force on the handle to lift it off the ground. How far you lift the bucket off the ground is the distance. So, exerting a pulling force to move the bucket a certain distance off the ground is work.

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