Definition of simple machine: any of various elementary mechanisms formerly considered as the elements of which all machines are composed and including the lever, the wheel and axle, the pulley, the inclined plane, the wedge, and the screw. Simple machine, any of several devices with few or no moving parts that are used to modify motion and the magnitude of a force in order to perform work. They are the simplest mechanisms known that can use leverage (or mechanical advantage) to increase force. The simple machines are the inclined plane, lever, wedge, wheel and axle, pulley, and screw.
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simple machine - a device for overcoming resistance at one point by applying force at some other point machine inclined plane - a simple machine for elevating objects; consists of plane surface that makes an acute angle with the horizontal. A mechanical device that changes the direction or magnitude of a force is known as a simple machine. In general terms, they are defined as simple mechanisms that make use of leverage or mechanical advantage to multiply force. Simple machines have few or Estimated Reading Time: 4 mins. What does simple-machine mean? The definition of a simple machine is a basic mechanical device. (noun) An example of a simple machine is a pulley.
A simple machine is a mechanical device that changes the direction or magnitude of a force. A simple machine uses a single applied force to do work against a single load force. Ignoring friction losses, the work done on the load is equal to the work done by the applied force. The machine can increase the amount of the output force, at the cost of a proportional decrease in the distance moved by the load. The ratio of the output to the applied force is called the mechanical advantage.
Simple machines can be regarded as the elementary "building blocks" of which all more complicated machines sometimes called "compound machines"   are composed.
Although they continue to be of great importance in mechanics and applied science, modern mechanics has moved beyond the view of the simple machines as the ultimate building blocks of which all machines are composed, which arose in the Renaissance as a neoclassical amplification of ancient Greek texts. The great variety and sophistication of modern machine linkages, which arose during the Industrial Revolution , is inadequately described by these six simple categories.
Various post-Renaissance authors have compiled expanded lists of "simple machines", often using terms like basic machines ,  compound machines ,  or machine elements to distinguish them from the classical simple machines above. By the late s, Franz Reuleaux  had identified hundreds of machine elements, calling them simple machines.
The idea of a simple machine originated with the Greek philosopher Archimedes around the 3rd century BC, who studied the Archimedean simple machines: lever, pulley, and screw. Later Greek philosophers defined the classic five simple machines excluding the inclined plane and were able to calculate their ideal mechanical advantage. During the Renaissance the dynamics of the Mechanical Powers , as the simple machines were called, began to be studied from the standpoint of how far they could lift a load, in addition to the force they could apply, leading eventually to the new concept of mechanical work.
In Flemish engineer Simon Stevin derived the mechanical advantage of the inclined plane, and it was included with the other simple machines. The complete dynamic theory of simple machines was worked out by Italian scientist Galileo Galilei in in Le Meccaniche On Mechanics , in which he showed the underlying mathematical similarity of the machines as force amplifiers.
The classic rules of sliding friction in machines were discovered by Leonardo da Vinci — , but were unpublished and merely documented in his notebooks, and were based on pre-Newtonian science such as believing friction was an ethereal fluid. They were rediscovered by Guillaume Amontons and were further developed by Charles-Augustin de Coulomb If a simple machine does not dissipate energy through friction, wear or deformation, then energy is conserved and it is called an ideal simple machine.
In this case, the power into the machine equals the power out, and the mechanical advantage can be calculated from its geometric dimensions.
Although each machine works differently mechanically, the way they function is similar mathematically. Simple machines do not contain a source of energy ,  so they cannot do more work than they receive from the input force. The velocity ratio is also equal to the ratio of the distances covered in any given period of time   .
Therefore the mechanical advantage of an ideal machine is also equal to the distance ratio , the ratio of input distance moved to output distance moved. This can be calculated from the geometry of the machine. For example, the mechanical advantage and distance ratio of the lever is equal to the ratio of its lever arms. In the screw , which uses rotational motion, the input force should be replaced by the torque , and the velocity by the angular velocity the shaft is turned.
All real machines have friction, which causes some of the input power to be dissipated as heat. So a machine that includes friction will not be able to move as large a load as a corresponding ideal machine using the same input force.
A compound machine is a machine formed from a set of simple machines connected in series with the output force of one providing the input force to the next. For example, a bench vise consists of a lever the vise's handle in series with a screw, and a simple gear train consists of a number of gears wheels and axles connected in series.
The mechanical advantage of a compound machine is the ratio of the output force exerted by the last machine in the series divided by the input force applied to the first machine, that is. Thus, the mechanical advantage of the compound machine is equal to the product of the mechanical advantages of the series of simple machines that form it.
Similarly, the efficiency of a compound machine is also the product of the efficiencies of the series of simple machines that form it. In many simple machines, if the load force F out on the machine is high enough in relation to the input force F in , the machine will move backwards, with the load force doing work on the input force. For example, if the load force on a lever is high enough, the lever will move backwards, moving the input arm backwards against the input force.
These are called " reversible ", " non-locking " or " overhauling " machines, and the backward motion is called " overhauling ". However, in some machines, if the frictional forces are high enough, no amount of load force can move it backwards, even if the input force is zero. This is called a " self-locking ", " nonreversible ", or " non-overhauling " machine.
Self-locking occurs mainly in those machines with large areas of sliding contact between moving parts: the screw , inclined plane , and wedge :. If both the friction and ideal mechanical advantage are high enough, it will self-lock. Thus the machine self-locks, because the work dissipated in friction is greater than the work done by the load force moving it backwards even with no input force. Machines are studied as mechanical systems consisting of actuators and mechanisms that transmit forces and movement, monitored by sensors and controllers.
The components of actuators and mechanisms consist of links and joints that form kinematic chains. Simple machines are elementary examples of kinematic chains that are used to model mechanical systems ranging from the steam engine to robot manipulators.
The bearings that form the fulcrum of a lever and that allow the wheel and axle and pulleys to rotate are examples of a kinematic pair called a hinged joint. Similarly, the flat surface of an inclined plane and wedge are examples of the kinematic pair called a sliding joint. The screw is usually identified as its own kinematic pair called a helical joint.
Two levers, or cranks, are combined into a planar four-bar linkage by attaching a link that connects the output of one crank to the input of another. Additional links can be attached to form a six-bar linkage or in series to form a robot. The identification of simple machines arises from a desire for a systematic method to invent new machines.
Therefore, an important concern is how simple machines are combined to make more complex machines. One approach is to attach simple machines in series to obtain compound machines. However, a more successful strategy was identified by Franz Reuleaux , who collected and studied over elementary machines. He realized that a lever, pulley, and wheel and axle are in essence the same device: a body rotating about a hinge.
Similarly, an inclined plane, wedge, and screw are a block sliding on a flat surface. This realization shows that it is the joints, or the connections that provide movement, that are the primary elements of a machine. Starting with four types of joints, the revolute joint , sliding joint , cam joint and gear joint , and related connections such as cables and belts, it is possible to understand a machine as an assembly of solid parts that connect these joints.
The design of mechanisms to perform required movement and force transmission is known as kinematic synthesis. This is a collection of geometric techniques for the mechanical design of linkages , cam and follower mechanisms and gears and gear trains. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Mechanical device that changes the direction or magnitude of a force. This article is about the concept in physics.
For independent record label, see Simple Machines. For the Internet forum software, see Simple Machines Forum. For broader coverage of this topic, see Mechanism engineering. Physics for Technical Students: Mechanics and Heat. New York: McGraw Hill.
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