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What is a device?
What are the types of devices?
What are examples of devices?
What is a device?
A simple device, such as a lever, a pulley, or an inclined plane alters the magnitude or direction, or both, of an applied force. Some classify these devices as simple machines.
Devices become part of various machines.
A device has to be connected to other components to make it useful.

Not all devices are machines.
All machines have various devices.

What are the types of devices?
Computer devices
Medical devices
Simple devices (Some call them simple machines)
Thermonuclear Devices

What are examples of devices?
Computer hardware that is designed for a specific function.
Analog Devices
Broadband router
Load balancer
Media device
Power device
Print server
Proxy server
Remote management
Security/miscellaneous device
Terminal server
VoIP adapter
VoIP phone
Wireless Starters
Wireless Routers
What are the six simple machines?
What simple machines belong to the inclined plane family?
What simple machines belong to the lever family?
Device Types
Medical Devices
What is a ramp?
What is friction?
What is a wedge?
What is a screw?
What is a lever?
What is a wheel and axle?
What is a gear?
What is a crank?
What is a pulley?

Inclined plane family - wedge, ramp, screw

Lever family - lever, wheel and axle, pulley

What is a ramp?

A ramp (inclined plane), helps us to move heavy objects more easily, but we have to move them further to complete the task. We use less force, however, we have to apply the force over a greater distance. Friction is one problem encountered in using a ramp to move heavy objects.

We use stairs or ramps to walk up and down. If an incline is very steep, steps are cut into the incline to make it easier for us. Ramps are usedin moving vans, for wheelchair access and on loading docks.

Inclined Planes

What is friction?

Friction is the resistance produced by rubbing two objects together. To overcome friction, the surface of a ramp should be as smooth as possible. Alternatively, rollers, wheels or lubricant can be used.

What is a wedge?

A wedge consists of two back-to-back inclined planes. A wedge looks like an inclined plane but it works differently. It can either hold things together, as in a doorstop or nail, or it can split things apart, as in an axe or chisel. Other wedges include the cutting edge of scissors, knives and screwdrivers.

What is a screw?

A screw is an inclined plane wound about a nail. The ridges are called the thread of a screw. These threads cut a groove in the wood as you turn the screw, making it hold very tightly. To remove a screw you have to turnin theopposite direction with a screwdriver. It is very difficult to remove a screw by pulling it straight out. The distancebetween the threads depends on the slope of the inclined plane - the steeper the slope, the wider the thread. Screws with less distance between the threads are easier to turn.

As with any inclined plane used as a simple machine, the force required is less but the distance travelled is greater.

The Screw

What is a lever?

The lever is a bar that turns on a point called a fulcrum.

The secret of the lever is the increased distance over which the force moves, i.e., the arm length of the lever, which is determined by the position of the fulcrum (pivot). It is the same principle as the inclined plane - the greater the distance over which the force must be applied, the smaller the force required to do the work (lift the load).

Our arm is in fact a lever. How hard it would be to use the arm if it didn't bend at the elbow! The elbow acts as a fulcrum and the muscles between the elbow and shoulder provide the force (hence the lower arm becomes the lever). Imagine that you have a caston your arm so you can't move your elbow. Now try lifting a bag of flour. Which is easier, with or without the cast?

A shovel, wheelbarrow, hockey stick, wooden bat and tweezers are also levers, and the fulcrum is located as follows:
shovel and hockey stick - mid-point of the handle wheelbarrow - at the wheel bat - at the base of the handle tweezers - at the central join


What is a wheel and axle?

A wheel and axle is a lever that is able to rotate through a complete circle (3600 ). The circle turned by the wheel is much larger than the circle turned by the axle. The increased distance over which the force is applied as the wheel turns results in a more powerful force on the axle, which moves a shorter distance. For example - the steering wheel, screwdriver, faucet handle and wrench.

What is a gear?

We use the wheel and axle in gears. Gears have teeth around the outer rim. When the teeth of two gears fit together and one gear turns, it will cause the other gear to turn, but in the opposite direction. When the gears are the same size and they have the same number of teeth, they both turn at the same speed. If one gear is larger than the other, however, the smaller gear will turn faster. We use gears to regulate speed and direction of motion in complex machines and to increase/decrease the force applied.

Machines that use gears include clocks, bicycles, cars, eggbeaters and other small household appliances.


What is a crank?

A crank is the handle of a machine that is connected at right angles to an axle. It is used to transmit motion.

On a bicycle, the pedal attached to the gears is a crank. Cranks are used for turning, for example, the spinning wheel, eggbeater, apple parer, peppermill etc.

What is a pulley?

Pulleys are wheels with grooves around the rim. The pulley turns as a string moves over the wheel and a load is raised as the string is pulled. This is a fixed pulley which doesn't change position. A fixed pulley makes work easier by changing the direction of the applied force. With a fixed pulley, the force required to lift the load remains the same as lifting it by hand, but realize how much easier it is to raise a flag or sail from the ground, as opposed to climbing up the pole or mast. If a force needs to be applied around a corner, a pulley allows us to overcome friction.

With a moveable pulley , both the load and the pulley move; the load moves in the same direction as the applied force. Moveable pulleys allow you to use less force to raise an object than if you used only your hands. The amount of force required depends on the number of supporting ropes. The greater the number of pulleys and supporting ropes, the smaller the force required. However as with all simple machines, the less force required, the greater the distance the rope must be pulled further than the load actually moves .

What does "work" mean in science?
What is the formula (mathematical equation) for work?
A simple machine(device) NEVER changes the amount of work done. What does a simple machine change?
What is the advantage in using a simple machine(device)?


What is a lever?
Where is the fulcrum located in a class one lever?
List some examples of a class one lever.
Where is the load located in a class two lever?
List some examples of a class two lever.
Where is the effort located in a class three lever?
List some examples of a class three lever.
Now, sketch the three classes of levers. Be sure to label the effort, load and fulcrum.


What is a pulley?
What are the three types of pulleys?
Sketch and label all three types of pulleys.
What is the advantage of a fixed pulley? What is the disadvantage of a fixed pulley?
What is the advantage of a movable pulley? What is the disadvantage of a movable pulley?
What is the advantage of a combined pulley? What is the disadvantage of a combined pulley?

Wheel and axle

What is a wheel and axle?
Explain how a wheel and axle works.

Inclined Planes

What is an inclined plane?
What is the architectural standard for a wheel chair ramp?
In your own words, explain why inclined planes are useful.
How is a wedge and an inclined plane related?
How is a screw and an inclined plane related?
What are recommendations to other experienced engineers?
Do not include incline plane, lever, pulley, screw, wheel, or wedge as machines. Include them in devices.

Simple Machine Quiz
Compound Machines
Simple Machines
    Bevel Gears
    Worm Gear
    Rack and Pinion
    Wheel and Axle
    Crank and Rod