Mechanical Comprehension Flash Card Set 181306

Cards 10
Topics Bridge Forms, Efficiency, Force Lines of Action, Gear Ratio, Mechanics, Newton's Second Law of Motion, Pascal's Law, Third-Class Lever, Wedge, Work

Study Guide

Bridge Forms

The six basic bridge forms are beam, truss, arch, cantilever, cable, and suspension.


The efficiency of a machine describes how much of the power put into the machine is turned into movement or force. A 100% efficient machine would turn all of the input power into output movement or force. However, no machine is 100% efficient due to friction, heat, wear and other imperfections that consume input power without delivering any output.

Force Lines of Action

Collinear forces act along the same line of action, concurrent forces pass through a common point and coplanar forces act in a common plane.

Gear Ratio

The mechanical advantage (amount of change in speed or torque) of connected gears is proportional to the number of teeth each gear has. Called gear ratio, it's the ratio of the number of teeth on the larger gear to the number of teeth on the smaller gear. For example, a gear with 12 teeth connected to a gear with 9 teeth would have a gear ratio of 4:3.


Mechanics deals with motion and the forces that produce motion.

Newton's Second Law of Motion

Newton's Second Law of Motion states that "The acceleration of an object as produced by a net force is directly proportional to the magnitude of the net force, in the same direction as the net force, and inversely proportional to the mass of the object." This Law describes the linear relationship between mass and acceleration when it comes to force and leads to the formula F = ma or force equals mass multiplied by rate of acceleration.

Pascal's Law

Pascal's law states that a pressure change occurring anywhere in a confined incompressible fluid is transmitted throughout the fluid such that the same change occurs everywhere. For a hydraulic system, this means that a pressure applied to the input of the system will increase the pressure everywhere in the system.

Third-Class Lever

A third-class lever is used to increase distance traveled by an object in the same direction as the force applied. The fulcrum is at one end of the lever, the object at the other, and the force is applied between them. This lever does not impart a mechanical advantage as the effort force must be greater than the load but does impart extra speed to the load. Examples of third-class levers are shovels and tweezers.


The wedge is a moving inclined plane that is used to lift, hold, or break apart an object. A wedge converts force applied to its blunt end into force perpendicular to its inclined surface. In contrast to a stationary plane where force is applied to the object being moved, with a wedge the object is stationary and the force is being applied to the plane. Examples of a wedge include knives and chisels.


Work is accomplished when force is applied to an object: W = Fd where F is force in newtons (N) and d is distance in meters (m). Thus, the more force that must be applied to move an object, the more work is done and the farther an object is moved by exerting force, the more work is done.