Simple and Compound Machines

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Chapter 15 : Simple and Compound Machines

Machine arrow_upward

  • A machine is a tool that consists of one or more parts, and uses energy to achieve a particular goal.
  • Machines are usually powered by mechanical, chemical, thermal, or electrical means, and are frequently motorized.
  • Machines do not reduce the amount of work needed to perform a task; they reduce the effort needed from the user.

  • Simple Machine arrow_upward

  • A simple machine is a mechanical device that changes the direction or magnitude of a force.
  • In general, they can be defined as the simplest mechanisms that provide mechanical advantage (also called leverage).

  • Simple Machines Work in One of 3 Ways

  • Can take the force exerted by the individual and redirect it
  • Can turn a small effort or force into a larger force (mechanical advantage)
  • Can magnify the distance that a force acts on

  • Types of Simple Machines

  • Lever
    • Is a narrow beam that rotates around a single point called the fulcrum
    • By placing an object to be moved, called the load, at one point on the beam and by applying an effort at another point the object can be moved more easily
  • Inclined Plane
    • Device designed to reduce the force needed to raise an object.
    • For example, pushing a load up a ramp onto a platform requires less force than lifting the load onto the platform.

  • Screw
    • Screw is an inclined plane wrapped in a spiral around a shaft.

    • Pulleys is a wheel over which a rope or belt is passed for the purpose of transmitting energy and doing work.

  • Wheel and Axle
    • An axle is a rod that goes through the wheel to create a wheel and axle machine
    • Wheels and Axles are used to move and lift objects
    • Some examples are: cars, wagons, doorknobs, pencil sharpeners, and bikes

    Compound Machines arrow_upward

  • A compound machine consists of two or more simple machines put together.
  • In fact, most machines are compound machines.
  • Compound machines can do more difficult jobs than simple machines alone.
  • Their mechanical advantage is far greater, too.

  • Types of Compound Machines


  • There is a huge variety of compound machines available to assist with a large number of tasks.
  • Several examples of compound machines include: bicycles, pliers, wheelbarrows and scissors.
  • In bicycles, the pedals and wheels form cooperating wheel and axle systems, the brakes are levers and the parts are held together with multiple screws.
  • Pliers are constructed with multiple levers. A wheelbarrow is a combination of a lever and wheel and axle. Scissors consist of two pivoting levers.

  • Difference between Simple and Complex Machine arrow_upward

    Simple machine

    Complex machine

    A simple machine is what it says; it's a very simple machine, made up of only one simple machine, such as a screw or a lever.

    A complex machine is more than one simple machine working together, instead of working alone.

    The simple machine is one part.

    The complex machine is made up of different- different parts

    A simple machine is used to make work easier.

    A compound machine is two or more types of simple machines together.

    A simple machine is either a: lever, screw, incline, pulley, wheel and axle, and gear.

    A complex machine is made up of more than one simple machine.

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