As technology has advanced, the most common tools we use on a day-to-day basis have become more advanced as well. We don’t just use levers, pulleys, and inclined planes in our daily lives; we also rely on smaller devices that use these three simple machines to make life easier. Check out this video to learn about the three simple machines – lever, pulley, and inclined plane – and how they work!
The simplest machine is the lever. A lever has a pivot point, fulcrum, and effort arm. The effort arm is typically fixed to the ground or held in place by gravity. For example, if you have a book on a table and you want to move it up, you can use your hand as an effort arm and push down with your fingers on the table (or any other surface) for the fulcrum. Your hand will be able to lift the book off of the table because you are using leverage.
The wheel and axle machine is used to convert rotational motion into linear motion. It consists of a round object (the wheel) being pushed along the ground by a point on its edge (the axle). The first use of this machine was in Ancient Greece, where it was used for irrigation. There are three types of wheels: an axle with two wheels, an axle with one wheel, and an axle with three or more wheels.
A pulley is a simple machine consisting of a rope or cable wrapped around a pair of wheels. When you pull on the free end of the rope, the other end will be lifted. This is because when the wheels are turned in opposite directions, they create an upward force which can increase your pulling power. To use one to lift something heavy, you would attach it to a sturdy object like a tree and put two ropes on either side of the object to help support its weight.