Tuesday, May 26, 2020

6 Simple Machines All Around You

If you tell a child that there are only 6 real machines in the world, you might get a funny look. After all, we're surrounded by technological advancement everywhere we go. It's easy to forget how mechanical objects have grown commonplace throughout history. In fact, if you look around your own home, you might be surprised to find these simple machines quietly making your life easier all around you. 


One common example of a wedge is an ax. Unless you're enthusiastic about chopping lumber, however, you're more likely to have examples of wedges that are less easy to think of. Some common wedges include knives, nails, doorstops, teeth, pushpins and needles. 


Chances are pretty good that some pieces of your home are held together with screws, rather than nails since the teeth on this simple machine allow it to hold stronger than a flatter plane. If you go into your kitchen, however, you'll probably notice bottle caps and jar lids that also use the power of the screw to keep them in place. Items like pipes and hoses are often held together with the ingenious properties of screws like in marine hose clamps that keep the waterlines tight and secure. 


Although this one might not seem likely to be in your home unless you have a wishing well or a sailboat, pulleys are commonly used in many areas where things need to be raised and lowered. A variation on the simple pulley is likely in your garage doors, exercise equipment and perhaps even in your window blinds.

Inclined Plane

Ramps and slides are easy examples of inclined planes, but even uneven surfaces like stairs and ladders count as inclined planes and are commonly found in homes. 


Unless you've left your arms and legs behind, you probably have a lever with you anywhere you go. That's because your body works on the basic principle of force divided by distance. Scissors, tweezers, bottle openers, boat oars and shovels all use the basic idea of indirect lift to get more work done with less effort. 

Wheel and Axle 

One of the most critical inventions of all time, wheels are everywhere. Obviously these exist in vehicles, but you might also find wheels in rotating bar stools, hinges and dials. 
Simple machines really are everywhere. Thanks to these simple mechanical wonders, nearly everything we do is just a little easier. 

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