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Mechanical Advantage

How do machines help to make work easier?
by

Jeffrey Bishop

on 22 November 2013

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Transcript of Mechanical Advantage

How do machines help make work easier? Mechanical Advantage and Efficiency If you compare the input force to the output force, you can find the advantage of using a machine.

A machine’s mechanical advantage is the number of times a machine increases a force exerted on it.

Finding the ratio of output force to input force gives you the mechanical advantage of a machine. White boards:
Suppose you exert an input force of 10 newtons on a hand-held can opener, and the opener exerts an output force of 30 newtons on a can.
The mechanical advantage of the can opener is: When the output force is greater than the input force, the mechanical advantage of a machine is greater than 1. For example, suppose your input force is 20 newtons and the machine’s output force is 10 newtons.
The mechanical advantage is: If the output force is less than the input force, the mechanical advantage of the machine is less than 1.
This type of machine exerts that force over a long distance. If only the direction changes, the input force will be the same as the output force.
The mechanical advantage will always be 1. White Boards:
What can you predict about the mechanical advantage of a machine that changes the direction of the force? Suppose that with a pulley system, you need to exert a force of 1,400 N to lift a heavy object. But without the pulley system, you need to exert 4,200 N to lift the object. What is the mechanical advantage of the pulley system? Calculate the mechanical advantage of a machine that has an input force of 15 N and an output force of 60 N. So far, you have learned that the work you put into a machine is exactly equal to the work done by the machine.
In an ideal situation, this equation is true.

In real situations, however, the output work is always less than the input work. Mechanical Advantage = Output force divided by Input force Increasing Force The can opener triples your input force! Without the mechanical advantage of the can opener, opening the can would be very difficult. Increasing Distance You need to apply a lot of force to the spoon in order to hold it, but the spoon applies little force to hold the cereal. You move the spoon a short distance in the cereal but the spoon moves the cereal a great distance to your mouth. Changing Direction White Boards: Practice Problems Efficiency of Machines Do Now:
Does a machine change the amount of work required to do a task? If so, how? Do Now:
What do you need to know in order to calculate the mechanical advantage of a machine? Friction and Efficiency If you have ever tried to cut something with scissors that barely open and close, you know that a large part of your work is wasted overcoming the tightness, or friction, between the parts of the scissors.
In every machine, some work is wasted overcoming the force of friction.
The less friction there is, the closer the output work is to the input work.
To calculate the efficiency of a machine, divide the output work by the input work and multiply the result by 100 percent. Efficiency is expressed as a percent.
The higher the percent, the more efficient the machine is. If the rusty, tight scissors have an efficiency of 60%, only a little more than half of the work you do goes into cutting the paper.

The rest is wasted overcoming the friction in the scissors. Calculating Efficiency: You do 20 J of work while using a hammer. The hammer does 18 J of work on a nail. What is the efficiency of the hammer? Whiteboards: Calculating Efficiency: Suppose you left your lawn mower outdoors all winter. Now it’s rusty. Of your 250,000 J of work, only 100,000 J go to cutting the lawn. What is the efficiency of the lawn mower now? Real and Ideal Machines If you could find a machine with an efficiency of 100%, it would be an ideal machine.
Unfortunately, such a machine does not exist In all machines, some work is wasted due to friction.
So all machines have an efficiency of less than 100%.
The machines you use every day, such as scissors, screwdrivers, and rakes, lose some work due to friction. A machine’s ideal mechanical advantage is its mechanical advantage with 100% efficiency. A machine’s measured mechanical advantage is called actual mechanical advantage.
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