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What are compound machines?

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Quick Answer

A compound machine is a machine composed of two or more simple machines. Common examples are bicycles, can openers and wheelbarrows. Simple machines change the magnitude or direction of a force without any motor.

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What are compound machines?
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Simple machines are generally easy to understand and work on simple principles. They include such things as levers, which grant mechanical advantage, and wedges, which redirect relative motion, and wheels of various sorts, from pulleys to bicycle gears. These, put together, form a compound machine.

One of the simpler and older compound machines is a wheelbarrow. The classic wheelbarrow consists of two levers – its handles, which give mechanical advantage in lifting their load. They also have a wheel, which translates forward motion into rotary motion, decreasing frictional resistance compared to dragging. Another simple example is a pair of scissors. This consists of two levers with a class one fulcrum, which is a fulcrum that changes the direction of motion.

Compound machines have multiple parts that interact with each other, and at least some of them are in relative motion during use. This invariably causes internal friction, so compound machines lose efficiency when compared to simple machines. This is why many compound machines require lubrication. On the other hand, a compound machine grants the total mechanical advantage of all of its constituent parts, so it often has much greater capabilities.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What simple machines are in a bulldozer?

    A:

    A bulldozer is a compound machine that is made up of several individual simple machines, including levers, wheels and axles, pulleys, gears, wedges and screws. A simple machine is any component that is used to multiply and direct a force.

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  • Q:

    Who invented simple machines?

    A:

    The Greek philosopher Archimedes is credited with inventing the idea of simple machines. Even though Archimedes improved on already existing ideas from unknown people, it is he who discovered the mechanical advantages of levers that people were already using to pull, push and lift items by hand.

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    What two simple machines make up scissors?

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    Compound machines are systems that incorporate two or more simple machines into their design. A pair of scissors is a compound machine that incorporates both the lever and the wedge into its design.

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  • Q:

    How do machines work?

    A:

    A machine is any device that transmits mechanical energy or power into useful work. The simplest machines redirect an applied force or convert kinetic energy into potential energy. More complicated machines are powered by electricity or fuel and use moving parts and electronic circuitry to complete complex tasks.

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