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2 Tutorials that teach Simple Machines: Wheel and Axel
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Simple Machines: Wheel and Axel

Simple Machines: Wheel and Axel

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Imagine moving a cart full of groceries around the supermarket in a cart with no wheels. The wheel and axel together as a working part is an example of a simple machine that makes it easier to perform tasks by using less force. You will explore the concept of mechanical advantage and how it is used to describe a factor of force required to perform tasks. You will also learn how to calculate mechanical force using the radius in a wheel and axel simple machine.

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Wheel and Axle

Simple machines make our lives easier by allowing us to do tasks with less force. The mechanical advantage is the factor of which a machine multiplies the force put into it. For example, if a simple machine has a mechanical advantage of 3 it means that it made the work you did 3 times easier or you only had to put in 1/3 the force you would have if you didn’t have the simple machine.

An example of a simple machine is the wheel and axle. The wheel and axle allows movement of larger objects over a distance with less force. Imagine pushing a cart at the supermarket. Without wheels and axles it would be difficult to move a cart full of groceries.

To calculate the mechanical advantage of a wheel and axle you must divide the radius of the wheel by the radius of the axle. Therefore larger wheels means that the speed of the wheels is faster than the speed of the axle and for each rotation the axle makes the wheels are making multiple rotations. A mechanical advantage of 5 means that the wheels are moving 5 times faster than the axle.

MA= radius of wheel/radius of axle

Questions and Answers

  • Answers 0
    Savannah Infante about 2 months ago

    How do we caculate the mexhanical advantages of a moveable pulley

  • Answers 0
    Tyler Zwink over 2 years ago

    If the wheel rotates 10 times more than the axle does would that make the load 10 times lighter? and would the Velocity of the effort matter?

  • Answers 0
    mary williams over 2 years ago

    I believe Jill has got it correct- the large wheel does not make multiple rotation, but it's linear speed is greater

  • Answer 1
    Jill McLean over 2 years ago

    How is this statement possible if the wheel is attached to the axle? "for each rotation the axle makes the wheels are making multiple rotations"? The angular speed is the same for both, but the linear speed depends on radius, so the edge of the wheel has a greater linear speed than the edge of the axle.

    And it is disappointing that these videos are listed as 11-12 grades, but torque is not included as part of this discussion. This seems like middle school level understanding.

      Tyler Zwink answered over 2 years ago

      I do believe that the Momentum of the circle ( Unlike other shapes ) Increases the acceleration of its Rotations

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