DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Plate from 18th century encyclopedia showing an illustration of a hand cranked crane showing a system of gears. When two gears of unequal number of teeth are combined, a mechanical advantage is produced, with both the rotational speeds and the torques of the two gears differing in a simple relationship. Mechanical advantage is a measure of the force amplification achieved by using a tool, mechanical device or machine system. Ideally, the device preserves the input power and simply trades off forces against movement to obtain a desired amplification in the output force. The model for this is the law of the lever.
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