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The science of designing artificial replacements (protheses) for parts of the human body that are not working properly

compound machine

A combination of two or more simple machines.


The ratio of the useful work put out by a machine to the work put into that machine; efficiency is always less than 100 percent.

effort arm

The part of a lever on which an effort force (Fe) is applied.

effort force

The force applied to a machine when a machine is used to do work.


The fixed point around which a lever pivots.

ideal machine

A machine in which work input equals work output; such as a "perfect" machine would be frictionless and 100 percent efficient.

inclined plane

A simple machine consisting of a sloping surface (ramp) used to raise objects.


A simple machine consisting of a bar that is free to pivot (rotate) around a fixed point (fulcrum).


A device that makes work easier by changing the size of the force applied to it and/or the direction of that force

mechanical advantage

The number of times a machine multiplies the effort force applied to it.


The measure of the amount of work done in a specific amount of time; power is measured in watts and equals 1 joule/second.


A simple machine consisting of a grooved wheel with a rope or a chain running along the groove.

resistance arm

The part of a lever that exerts the resistance force (Fr)

resistance force

The force exerted by a machine to overcome resistance to gravity and friction.


A simple machine consisting of a special type of inclined plane wrapped in a spiral around a cylindrical post.

simple machine

A device that accomplishes work with one movement. The lever, pulley, wheel and axle, inclined plane, screw, and wedge are all simple machines.


A simple machine consisting of a moving inclined plane with one or two sloping sides; examples are knives and chisels.

wheel and axle

A simple machine consisting of two different-sized wheels that rotate together, such as a doorknob or wheel-handled faucet.

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