Navy MM Machinist Mate (Submarine) ASVAB Study Guide

Branch Navy
Title Machinist Mate (Submarine)

Enforces the regulations and orders relative to the protection and security of vessels, harbors, ports, and waterfront facilities; supervises and controls the safe handling, transportation, stowage, and storage of explosives and other dangerous cargoes; in restricted areas, prevents unauthorized persons from entering upon the vessel or waterfront facility, carefully examines all authorized persons.

Performs general police patrol duty; arrests persons and collects evidence; controls access to restricted areas; conducts surveillance of vessels and identifies offenses; inspects vessels, cargo, and waterfront facilities; inspects documentation; conducts vessel searches.

Able to perform the duties required for E3 through E6; plans and conducts training programs; supervises cargo transfers and inspection procedures; cooperates with private cleanup contractors; plans, implements, and monitors security of vessels, harbors, and ports; coordinates security for facilities, responds to security threats, conducts threat assessment, supervises officers during operations, assesses computerized databases to verify information, provides mentoring for junior officers; serves as safety officer; supervises and directs law enforcement procedures, explosives-loading detail, and the loading, stowing, security, and offloading of dangerous cargo; supervises officers in the field of operations, plans for training needs, scheduling, debrief, evaluates and generates reports from operations, assures accuracy of intelligence information; serves as senior enlisted technical or specialty administrator; manages and supervises operations and procedures involving security and law enforcement, dangerous cargo, and safety and fire prevention; develops training and safety programs; establishes objectives and sets priorities; performs operational administrative functions; prepares correspondence concerning fiscal, supply, and administrative matters; assists in the formulation of plans, policies, and budget requirements; may supplement the officer corps in the overall supervision and administration of personnel and equipment; may also supervise personnel in other specialty areas.

Able to perform the duties required for E3 and E4; conducts investigations and interviews; conducts vessel searches using electronic survey equipment; supervises training and development of subordinate personnel; writes investigative reports; instructs subordinate personnel in procedures for manning a security zone, use of service pistol and safety requirements for explosives; serves as liaison with other law enforcement agencies; completes permit applications for explosives and other dangerous cargo; supervises use of loading equipment to determine safe operation; conducts facilities inspections.

Subtests Arithmetic Reasoning, Math Knowledge, Mechanical Comprehension, Paragraph Comprehension, Word Knowledge

Arithmetic Reasoning

  • 13 Questions
  • 54 Problems
  • 36 Flash Cards


Number Properties 8 4 10

An integer is any whole number, including zero. An integer can be either positive or negative. Examples include -77, -1, 0, 55, 119.

Rational Numbers

A rational number (or fraction) is represented as a ratio between two integers, a and b, and has the form \({a \over b}\) where a is the numerator and b is the denominator. An improper fraction (\({5 \over 3} \)) has a numerator with a greater absolute value than the denominator and can be converted into a mixed number (\(1 {2 \over 3} \)) which has a whole number part and a fractional part.

Absolute Value

The absolute value is the positive magnitude of a particular number or variable and is indicated by two vertical lines: \(\left|-5\right| = 5\). In the case of a variable absolute value (\(\left|a\right| = 5\)) the value of a can be either positive or negative (a = -5 or a = 5).

Factors & Multiples

A factor is a positive integer that divides evenly into a given number. The factors of 8 are 1, 2, 4, and 8. A multiple is a number that is the product of that number and an integer. The multiples of 8 are 0, 8, 16, 24, ...

Greatest Common Factor

The greatest common factor (GCF) is the greatest factor that divides two integers.

Least Common Multiple

The least common multiple (LCM) is the smallest positive integer that is a multiple of two or more integers.

Prime Number

A prime number is an integer greater than 1 that has no factors other than 1 and itself. Examples of prime numbers include 2, 3, 5, 7, and 11.

Operations on Fractions 5 2
Simplifying Fractions

Fractions are generally presented with the numerator and denominator as small as is possible meaning there is no number, except one, that can be divided evenly into both the numerator and the denominator. To reduce a fraction to lowest terms, divide the numerator and denominator by their greatest common factor (GCF).

Adding & Subtracting Fractions

Fractions must share a common denominator in order to be added or subtracted. The common denominator is the least common multiple of all the denominators.

Multiplying & Dividing Fractions

To multiply fractions, multiply the numerators together and then multiply the denominators together. To divide fractions, invert the second fraction (get the reciprocal) and multiply it by the first.

Operations on Exponents 1 6 7
Defining Exponents

An exponent (cbe) consists of coefficient (c) and a base (b) raised to a power (e). The exponent indicates the number of times that the base is multiplied by itself. A base with an exponent of 1 equals the base (b1 = b) and a base with an exponent of 0 equals 1 ( (b0 = 1).

Adding & Subtracting Exponents

To add or subtract terms with exponents, both the base and the exponent must be the same. If the base and the exponent are the same, add or subtract the coefficients and retain the base and exponent. For example, 3x2 + 2x2 = 5x2 and 3x2 - 2x2 = x2 but x2 + x4 and x4 - x2 cannot be combined.

Multiplying & Dividing Exponents

To multiply terms with the same base, multiply the coefficients and add the exponents. To divide terms with the same base, divide the coefficients and subtract the exponents. For example, 3x2 x 2x2 = 6x4 and \({8x^5 \over 4x^2} \) = 2x(5-2) = 2x3.

Exponent to a Power

To raise a term with an exponent to another exponent, retain the base and multiply the exponents: (x2)3 = x(2x3) = x6

Negative Exponent

A negative exponent indicates the number of times that the base is divided by itself. To convert a negative exponent to a positive exponent, calculate the positive exponent then take the reciprocal: \(b^{-e} = { 1 \over b^e }\). For example, \(3^{-2} = {1 \over 3^2} = {1 \over 9}\)

Operations on Radicals 6 4
Defining Radicals

Radicals (or roots) are the opposite operation of applying exponents. With exponents, you're multiplying a base by itself some number of times while with roots you're dividing the base by itself some number of times. A radical term looks like \(\sqrt[d]{r}\) and consists of a radicand (r) and a degree (d). The degree is the number of times the radicand is divided by itself. If no degree is specified, the degree defaults to 2 (a square root).

Simplifying Radicals

The radicand of a simplified radical has no perfect square factors. A perfect square is the product of a number multiplied by itself (squared). To simplify a radical, factor out the perfect squares by recognizing that \(\sqrt{a^2} = a\). For example, \(\sqrt{64} = \sqrt{16 \times 4} = \sqrt{4^2 \times 2^2} = 4 \times 2 = 8\).

Adding & Subtracting Radicals

To add or subtract radicals, the degree and radicand must be the same. For example, \(2\sqrt{3} + 3\sqrt{3} = 5\sqrt{3}\) but \(2\sqrt{2} + 2\sqrt{3}\) cannot be added because they have different radicands.

Multiplying & Dividing Radicals

To multiply or divide radicals, multiply or divide the coefficients and radicands separately: \(x\sqrt{a} \times y\sqrt{b} = xy\sqrt{ab}\) and \({x\sqrt{a} \over y\sqrt{b}} = {x \over y}\sqrt{a \over b}\)

Square Root of a Fraction

To take the square root of a fraction, break the fraction into two separate roots then calculate the square root of the numerator and denominator separately. For example, \(\sqrt{9 \over 16}\) = \({\sqrt{9}} \over {\sqrt{16}}\) = \({3 \over 4}\)

Miscellaneous 1 2 2
Scientific Notation

Scientific notation is a method of writing very small or very large numbers. The first part will be a number between one and ten (typically a decimal) and the second part will be a power of 10. For example, 98,760 in scientific notation is 9.876 x 104 with the 4 indicating the number of places the decimal point was moved to the left. A power of 10 with a negative exponent indicates that the decimal point was moved to the right. For example, 0.0123 in scientific notation is 1.23 x 10-2.


A factorial has the form n! and is the product of the integer (n) and all the positive integers below it. For example, 5! = 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 120.


Order of Operations 3 1 4

Arithmetic operations must be performed in the following specific order:

  1. Parentheses
  2. Exponents
  3. Multiplication and Division (from L to R)
  4. Addition and Subtraction (from L to R)

The acronym PEMDAS can help remind you of the order.

Distributive Property - Multiplication

The distributive property for multiplication helps in solving expressions like a(b + c). It specifies that the result of multiplying one number by the sum or difference of two numbers can be obtained by multiplying each number individually and then totaling the results: a(b + c) = ab + ac. For example, 4(10-5) = (4 x 10) - (4 x 5) = 40 - 20 = 20.

Distributive Property - Division

The distributive property for division helps in solving expressions like \({b + c \over a}\). It specifies that the result of dividing a fraction with multiple terms in the numerator and one term in the denominator can be obtained by dividing each term individually and then totaling the results: \({b + c \over a} = {b \over a} + {c \over a}\). For example, \({a^3 + 6a^2 \over a^2} = {a^3 \over a^2} + {6a^2 \over a^2} = a + 6\).

Commutative Property

The commutative property states that, when adding or multiplying numbers, the order in which they're added or multiplied does not matter. For example, 3 + 4 and 4 + 3 give the same result, as do 3 x 4 and 4 x 3.

Ratios 15 4

Ratios relate one quantity to another and are presented using a colon or as a fraction. For example, 2:3 or \({2 \over 3}\) would be the ratio of red to green marbles if a jar contained two red marbles for every three green marbles.


A proportion is a statement that two ratios are equal: a:b = c:d, \({a \over b} = {c \over d}\). To solve proportions with a variable term, cross-multiply: \({a \over 8} = {3 \over 6} \), 6a = 24, a = 4.


A rate is a ratio that compares two related quantities. Common rates are speed = \({distance \over time}\), flow = \({amount \over time}\), and defect = \({errors \over units}\).


Percentages are ratios of an amount compared to 100. The percent change of an old to new value is equal to 100% x \({ new - old \over old }\).

Statistics 4 3

The average (or mean) of a group of terms is the sum of the terms divided by the number of terms. Average = \({a_1 + a_2 + ... + a_n \over n}\)


A sequence is a group of ordered numbers. An arithmetic sequence is a sequence in which each successive number is equal to the number before it plus some constant number.


Probability is the numerical likelihood that a specific outcome will occur. Probability = \({ \text{outcomes of interest} \over \text{possible outcomes}}\). To find the probability that two events will occur, find the probability of each and multiply them together.

Word Problems 11

Many of the arithmetic reasoning problems on the ASVAB will be in the form of word problems that will test not only the concepts in this study guide but those in Math Knowledge as well. Practice these word problems to get comfortable with translating the text into math equations and then solving those equations.

Math Knowledge

  • 28 Questions
  • 38 Problems
  • 55 Flash Cards


Expressions 4 9 8

A monomial contains one term, a binomial contains two terms, and a polynomial contains more than two terms. Linear expressions have no exponents. A quadratic expression contains variables that are squared (raised to the exponent of 2).

Operations Involving Monomials

You can only add or subtract monomials that have the same variable and the same exponent. However, you can multiply and divide monomials with unlike terms.

Multiplying Binomials

To multiply binomials, use the FOIL method. FOIL stands for First, Outside, Inside, Last and refers to the position of each term in the parentheses.

Factoring Quadratics

To factor a quadratic expression, apply the FOIL (First, Outside, Inside, Last) method in reverse.

Solving Equations 2 9 2
One Variable

An equation is two expressions separated by an equal sign. The key to solving equations is to repeatedly do the same thing to both sides of the equation until the variable is isolated on one side of the equal sign and the answer on the other.

Two Variables

When solving an equation with two variables, replace the variables with the values given and then solve the now variable-free equation. (Remember order of operations, PEMDAS, Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication/Division, Addition/Subtraction.)

Two Equations

When presented with two equations with two variables, evaluate the first equation in terms of the variable you're not solving for then insert that value into the second equation. For example, if you have x and y as variables and you're solving for x, evaluate one equation in terms of y and insert that value into the second equation then solve it for x.

Quadratic Equations

When solving quadratic equations, if the equation is not set equal to zero, first manipulate the equation so that it is set equal to zero: ax2 + bx + c = 0. Then, factor the quadratic and, because it's set to zero, you know that one of the factors must equal zero for the equation to equal zero. Finding the value that will make each factor, i.e. (x + ?), equal to zero will give you the possible value(s) of x.


Solving equations with an inequality (<, >) uses the same process as solving equations with an equal sign. Isolate the variable that you're solving for on one wide of the equation and put everything else on the other side. The only difference is that your answer will be expressed as an inequality (x > 5) and not as an equality (x = 5).


Lines & Angles 5 2 14
Line Segment
Line Segment

A line segment is a portion of a line with a measurable length. The midpoint of a line segment is the point exactly halfway between the endpoints. The midpoint bisects (cuts in half) the line segment.

Right Angle
Right Angle

A right angle measures 90 degrees and is the intersection of two perpendicular lines. In diagrams, a right angle is indicated by a small box completing a square with the perpendicular lines.

Acute & Obtuse Angles
Acute & Obtuse Angles

An acute angle measures less than 90°. An obtuse angle measures more than 90°.

Angles Around Lines & Points

Angles around a line add up to 180°. Angles around a point add up to 360°. When two lines intersect, adjacent angles are supplementary (they add up to 180°) and angles across from either other are vertical (they're equal).

Parallel Lines
Parallel Lines

Parallel lines are lines that share the same slope (steepness) and therefore never intersect. A transversal occurs when a set of parallel lines are crossed by another line. All of the angles formed by a transversal are called interior angles and angles in the same position on different parallel lines equal each other (a° = w°, b° = x°, c° = z°, d° = y°) and are called corresponding angles. Alternate interior angles are equal (a° = z°, b° = y°, c° = w°, d° = x°) and all acute angles (a° = c° = w° = z°) and all obtuse angles (b° = d° = x° = y°) equal each other. Same-side interior angles are supplementary and add up to 180° (e.g. a° + d° = 180°, d° + c° = 180°).

Polygons 8 10 16
Triangle Geometry
Triangle Geometry

A triangle is a three-sided polygon. It has three interior angles that add up to 180° (a + b + c = 180°). An exterior angle of a triangle is equal to the sum of the two interior angles that are opposite (d = b + c). The perimeter of a triangle is equal to the sum of the lengths of its three sides, the height of a triangle is equal to the length from the base to the opposite vertex (angle) and the area equals one-half triangle base x height: a = ½ base x height.

Triangle Classification
Triangle Classification

An isosceles triangle has two sides of equal length. An equilateral triangle has three sides of equal length. In a right triangle, two sides meet at a right angle.

Pythagorean Theorem
Pythagorean Theorem

The Pythagorean theorem defines the relationship between the side lengths of a right triangle. The length of the hypotenuse squared (c2) is equal to the sum of the two perpendicular sides squared (a2 + b2): c2 = a2 + b2 or, solved for c, \(c = \sqrt{a + b}\)


A quadrilateral is a shape with four sides. The perimeter of a quadrilateral is the sum of the lengths of its four sides (a + b + c + d).

Rectangle & Square
Rectangle & Square

A rectangle is a parallelogram containing four right angles. Opposite sides (a = c, b = d) are equal and the perimeter is the sum of the lengths of all sides (a + b + c + d) or, comonly, 2 x length x width. The area of a rectangle is length x width. A square is a rectangle with four equal length sides. The perimeter of a square is 4 x length of one side (4s) and the area is the length of one side squared (s2).


A parallelogram is a quadrilateral with two sets of parallel sides. Opposite sides (a = c, b = d) and angles (red = red, blue = blue) are equal. The area of a parallelogram is base x height and the perimeter is the sum of the lengths of all sides (a + b + c + d).


A rhombus has four equal-length sides with opposite sides parallel to each other. The perimiter is the sum of the lengths of all sides (a + b + c + d) or, because all sides are the same length, 4 x length of one side (4s).


A trapezoid is a quadrilateral with one set of parallel sides. The area of a trapezoid is one-half the sum of the lengths of the parallel sides multiplied by the height. In this diagram, that becomes ½(b + d)(h).

Circles 5 2 8

A circle is a figure in which each point around its perimeter is an equal distance from the center. The radius of a circle is the distance between the center and any point along its perimeter (AC, CB, CD). A chord is a line segment that connects any two points along its perimeter (AB, AD, BD). The diameter of a circle is the length of a chord that passes through the center of the circle (AB) and equals twice the circle's radius (2r).


The circumference of a circle is the distance around its perimeter and equals π (approx. 3.14159) x diameter: c = π d. The area of a circle is π x (radius)2 : a = π r2.

Solids 2 4 5

A cube is a rectangular solid box with a height (h), length (l), and width (w). The volume is h x l x w and the surface area is 2lw x 2wh + 2lh.


A cylinder is a solid figure with straight parallel sides and a circular or oval cross section with a radius (r) and a height (h). The volume of a cylinder is π r2h and the surface area is 2(π r2) + 2π rh.

Coordinate Geometry 2 2 2
Coordinate Grid
Coordinate Grid

The coordinate grid is composed of a horizontal x-axis and a vertical y-axis. The center of the grid, where the x-axis and y-axis meet, is called the origin.

Slope-Intercept Equation

A line on the coordinate grid can be defined by a slope-intercept equation: y = mx + b. For a given value of x, the value of y can be determined given the slope (m) and y-intercept (b) of the line. The slope of a line is change in y over change in x, \({\Delta y \over \Delta x}\), and the y-intercept is the y-coordinate where the line crosses the vertical y-axis.

Mechanical Comprehension

  • 94 Questions
  • 34 Problems
  • 100 Flash Cards

Fundamentals of Mechanics

Principles 10 1 11

Mechanics deals with motion and the forces that produce motion.


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.


The more mass a substance has the more force is required to move it or to change its direction. This resistance to changes in direction is known as inertia.

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.

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.

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.


Mass is an intrinsic property of matter and does not vary. Weight is the force exerted on the mass of an object due to gravity and a specific case of Newton's Second Law of Motion. Replace force with weight and acceleration with acceleration due to gravity on Earth (g) and the result is the formula for weight: W = mg or, substituting for g, weight equals mass multiplied by 9.8 m/s2.

Boyle's Law

Boyle's law states that "for a fixed amount of an ideal gas kept at a fixed temperature, pressure and volume are inversely proportional". Expressed as a formula, that's \(\frac{P_1}{P_2} = \frac{V_2}{V_1}\)

Friction 11 9
Kinetic Friction

Friction resists movement. Kinetic (also called sliding or dynamic) friction resists movement in a direction opposite to the movement. Because it opposes movement, kinetic friction will eventually bring an object to a stop. An example is a rock that's sliding across ice.

Static Friction

Static friction is friction between two or more solid objects that are not moving relative to each other. An example is the friction that prevents a box on a sloped surface from sliding farther down the surface.

Coefficient of Friction

Coefficient of friction (μ) represents how much two materials resist sliding across each other. Smooth surfaces like ice have low coefficients of friction while rough surfaces like concrete have high μ.

Normal Force

Normal force (FN) represents the force a surface exerts when an object presses against it.

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.

Kinetic vs. Static Friction

For any given surface, the coefficient of static friction is higher than the coefficient of kinetic friction. More force is required to initally get an object moving than is required to keep it moving. Additionally, static friction only arises in response to an attempt to move an object (overcome the normal force between it and the surface).

Normal Force vs. Weight

Normal force arises on a flat horizontal surface in response to an object's weight pressing it down. Consequently, normal force is generally equal to the object's weight.

Other Forces 11 2 10

Drag is friction that opposes movement through a fluid like liquid or air. The amount of drag depends on the shape and speed of the object with slower objects experiencing less drag than faster objects and more aerodynamic objects experiencing less drag than those with a large leading surface area.


Tension is a force that stretches or elongates something. When a cable or rope is used to pull an object, for example, it stretches internally as it accepts the weight that it's moving. Although tension is often treated as applying equally to all parts of a material, it's greater at the places where the material is under the most stress.

Hydraulic Pressure

Hydraulics is the transmission of force through the use of liquids. Liquids are especially suited for transferring force in complex machines because they compress very little and can occupy very small spaces. Hydraulic pressure is calculated by dividing force by the area over which it is applied: P = F/A where F is force in pounds, A is area in square inches, and the resulting pressure is in pounds per square inch (psi).

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.


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).

Principle of Moments

When a system is stable or balanced (equilibrium) all forces acting on the system cancel each other out. In the case of torque, equilibrium means that the sum of the anticlockwise moments about a center of rotation equal the sum of the clockwise moments.

Energy, Work, & Power 14 3 14

The Joule (J) is the standard unit of energy and has the unit \({kg \times m^2} \over s^2\).

Kinetic Energy

Kinetic energy is the energy of movement and is a function of the mass of an object and its speed: \(KE = {1 \over 2}mv^2\) where m is mass in kilograms, v is speed in meters per second, and KE is in joules. The most impactful quantity to kinetic energy is velocity as an increase in mass increases KE linearly while an increase in speed increases KE exponentially.

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.

Gravitational Potential Energy

Gravitational potential energy is energy by virtue of gravity. The higher an object is raised above a surface the greater the distance it must fall to reach that surface and the more velocity it will build as it falls. For gravitational potential energy, PE = mgh where m is mass (kilograms), h is height (meters), and g is acceleration due to gravity which is a constant (9.8 m/s2).

Conservation of Mechanical Energy

As an object falls, its potential energy is converted into kinetic energy. The principle of conservation of mechanical energy states that, as long as no other forces are applied, total mechanical energy (PE + KE) of the object will remain constant at all points in its descent.


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.

Work-Energy Theorem

The work-energy theorem states that the work done by the sum of all forces acting on a particle equals the change in the kinetic energy of the particle. Simply put, work imparts kinetic energy to the matter upon which the work is being done.


Power is the rate at which work is done, P = w/t, or work per unit time. The watt (W) is the unit for power and is equal to 1 joule (or newton-meter) per second. Horsepower (hp) is another familiar unit of power used primarily for rating internal combustion engines. A 1 hp machine does 550 ft⋅lb of work in 1 second and 1 hp equals 746 watts.


Simple Machines 28 26 33
Types of Simple Machines

The six types of simple machines are the lever, wheel and axle, pulley, inclined plane, wedge, and screw.

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.


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.

Inclined Plane
Inclined Plane

An inclined plane is a simple machine that reduces the force needed to raise an object to a certain height. Work equals force x distance and, by increasing the distance that the object travels, an inclined plane reduces the force necessary to raise it to a particular height. In this case, the mechanical advantage is to make the task easier. An example of an inclined plane is a ramp.


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.

First-Class Lever
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.

Second-Class Lever
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.

Third-Class Lever
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.

Fixed Pulley
Fixed Pulley

A fixed pulley is used to change the direction of a force and does not multiply the force applied. As such, it has a mechanical advantage of one. The benefit of a fixed pulley is that it can allow the force to be applied at a more convenient angle, for example, pulling downward or horizontally to lift an object instead of upward.

Block and Tackle
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.

Wheel and Axle
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.


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.

Gears 7 2 6
Gear Trains

Connected gears of different numbers of teeth are used together to change the rotational speed and torque of the input force. If the smaller gear drives the larger gear, the speed of rotation will be reduced and the torque will increase. If the larger gear drives the smaller gear, the speed of rotation will increase and the torque will be reduced.

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.


General 7 10
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.

Bridge Forms

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

Modulus of Elasticity

The modulus of elasticity measures how much a material or structure will deflect under stress. Stretch modulus is longitudinal stretch (like stretching raw bread dough), shear modulus is longitudinal deflection (like the horizontal displacement of a stack of magzines when a heavy object is placed upon them), and bulk modulus is compression of volume (like the compression of a loaf of bread under a heavy can at the bottom of a grocery bag).


Ceramics are mixtures of metallic and nonmetallic elements that withstand exteme thermal, chemical, and pressure environments. They have a high melting point, low corrosive action, and are chemically stable. Examples include rock, sand, clay, glass, brick, and porcelain.

Specific Gravity

Specific gravity is the ratio of the density of equal volumes of a substance and water and is measured by a hyrdometer.

Loads 6 7
Building Loads

Dead load is the weight of the building and materials, live load is additional weight due to occupancy or use, snow load is the weight of accumulated snow on a structure and wind load is the force of wind pressures against structure surfaces.

Structural Loads

A concentrated load acts on a relatively small area of a structure, a static uniformly distributed load doesn't create specific stress points or vary with time, a dynamic load varies with time or affects a structure that experiences a high degree of movement, an impact load is sudden and for a relatively short duration and a non-uniformly distributed load creates different stresses at different locations on a structure.

Paragraph Comprehension

Word Knowledge