ASVAB Mechanical Comprehension Practice Test 169896

Questions 5
Topics First-Class Lever, Potential Energy, Torque, Universal Gravitation, Wheel and Axle

Study Guide

First-Class Lever

A first-class lever is used to increase force or distance while changing the direction of the force. The lever pivots on a fulcrum and, when a force is applied to the lever at one side of the fulcrum, the other end moves in the opposite direction. The position of the fulcrum also defines the mechanical advantage of the lever. If the fulcrum is closer to the force being applied, the load can be moved a greater distance at the expense of requiring a greater input force. If the fulcrum is closer to the load, less force is required but the force must be applied over a longer distance. An example of a first-class lever is a seesaw / teeter-totter.

Potential Energy

Potential energy is the energy of an object by virtue of its position relative to other objects. It is energy that has the potential to be converted into kinetic energy.


Torque measures force applied during rotation: τ = rF. Torque (τ, the Greek letter tau) = the radius of the lever arm (r) multiplied by the force (F) applied. Radius is measured from the center of rotation or fulcrum to the point at which the perpendicular force is being applied. The resulting unit for torque is newton-meter (N-m) or foot-pound (ft-lb).

Universal Gravitation

Newton's Law of Univeral Gravitation defines the general formula for the attraction of gravity between two objects: \(\vec{F_{g}} = { Gm_{1}m_{2} \over r^2}\) . In the specific case of an object falling toward Earth, the acceleration due to gravity (g) is approximately 9.8 m/s2.

Wheel and Axle

A wheel and axle uses two different diameter wheels mounted to a connecting axle. Force is applied to the larger wheel and large movements of this wheel result in small movements in the smaller wheel. Because a larger movement distance is being translated to a smaller distance, force is increased with a mechanical advantage equal to the ratio of the diameters of the wheels. An example of a wheel and axle is the steering wheel of a car.