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mechanical advantage

Mechanical Advantage and Friction
Image: iStockphoto.com/microgen

Mechanical Advantage and Friction

Simple machines make work faster and easier by reducing the force needed to move things. If you've ever bicycled up a hill in low gear or pried up a rock with a lever, you got a feel for what this means.

But you can get more than a feeling. You can calculate exactly how much faster and easier a machine makes a task. In other words, you can measure the machine's mechanical advantage,

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Calculating Mechanical Advantage

Calculating Mechanical Advantage

Whether prying off a lid or lifting a refrigerator, you'll know how to calculate mechanical advantage after practicing with this quiz. (Note: Round off your answers to the nearest whole number.) More...

Interactive
McGraw-Hill
Gears and Wheels: Part 1

Gears and Wheels: Part 1

Get to know gears and wheels, then move on the Part 2 and see how they put mechanical advantage to use. More...

Video
World in Motion
Gears and Wheels: Part 2

Gears and Wheels: Part 2

It may seem odd, but understanding mechanical advantage in levers helps you to understand it in gears, too (and you don't need the textbook that keeps getting mentioned in this video). More...

Video
World in Motion
Lever an Obelisk

Lever an Obelisk

How did the Ancient Egyptians raise huge stone pillars called obelisks? This interactive feature lets you work it out for yourself.

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Interactive
NOVA/PBS
Mechanical Advantage & Efficiency of Machines

Mechanical Advantage & Efficiency of Machines

A car jack is an inefficient machine, but does that mean it's useless? Try lifting a car without one! More...

Article
Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia
Mechanical Advantage in Machines

Mechanical Advantage in Machines

Explore the three types of mechanical advantage, and find out why energy is neither created nor destroyed — even if you are producing a big force with a small force. More...

Article
School for Champions
Mechanical Advantage: Pulleys

Mechanical Advantage: Pulleys

With the help of simple machines called pulleys, you can lift a tractor without breaking a sweat. More...

Video
Hilaroad.com
Mechanical Advantage: Ramp

Mechanical Advantage: Ramp

Say you've got work to do. You can apply a greater force over a shorter distance, or a smaller force over a greater distance, as these interactive diagrams show. More...

Interactive
Interactagram
Simple Machines: It’s All About Mechanical Advantage

Simple Machines: It’s All About Mechanical Advantage

Since doing a task with or without a machine requires the same amount of work, why use machines? Answer: They give you a mechanical advantage. More...

Interactive
COSI/Columbus

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