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How do machines work?

Pulleys lower crate from lorryPulleys lower crate from lorryMachines are designed to make work easier and quicker to complete. They use forces to do different jobs. Even complex machines are made up of a few kinds of simple machines: pulleys, levers, wedges, screws, wheels and axles, and slopes. Here, as shown in this illustration on the right, a crate of apples is unloaded using a pulley (it is easier to pull down on a rope than to pull up). The apples are checked before the crate is loaded into a van. This sequence shows how machines can be used to carry out a simple job.

Lever

LeverLever

A lever is a bar that rests on a point called a fulcrum. As you press down on one end, the other end lifts the load. The closer the fulcrum to the load, the smaller the effort needed.

 

WedgeWedge

Wedge

One of the very earliest "machines" was a hand axe. The first hand axes date back to about 1.6 million years ago. They were made by chipping a piece of flint to form a wedge.

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