Mechanical Comprehension Flash Card Set 570145

Cards 10
Topics Block and Tackle, Force Lines of Action, Force of Friction, Gear Ratio, Mass, Mechanical Advantage, Net Force, Screw, Second-Class Lever

Study Guide

Block and Tackle

Two or more pulleys used together constitute a block and tackle which, unlike a fixed pulley, does impart mechanical advantage as a function of the number of pulleys that make up the arrangement. So, for example, a block and tackle with three pulleys would have a mechanical advantage of three.

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.

Force of Friction

The formula for force of friction (Ff) is the same whether kinetic or static friction applies: Ff = μFN. To distinguish between kinetic and static friction, μk and μs are often used in place of μ.

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.


Mass is a measure of the amount of matter in an object. In general, larger objects have larger mass than smaller objects but mass ultimately depends on how compact (dense) a substance is.

Mechanical Advantage

Mechanical advantage is a measure of the force amplification achieved by using a tool, mechanical device or machine system. Such a device utilizes input force and trades off forces against movement to amplify and/or change its direction.

Net Force

In mechanics, multiple forces are often acting on a particular object and, taken together, produce the net force acting on that object. Like force, net force is a vector quantity in that it has magnitude and direction.


A screw is an inclined plane wrapped in ridges (threads) around a cylinder. The distance between these ridges defines the pitch of the screw and this distance is how far the screw advances when it is turned once. The mechanical advantage of a screw is its circumference divided by the pitch.

Second-Class Lever

A second-class lever is used to increase force on an object in the same direction as the force is applied. This lever requires a smaller force to lift a larger load but the force must be applied over a greater distance. The fulcrum is placed at one end of the lever and mechanical advantage increases as the object being lifted is moved closer to the fulcrum or the length of the lever is increased. An example of a second-class lever is a wheelbarrow.