Facts About Levers

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We all use various kinds of machines but hardly know about them or their working parts. We only use the machines without trying to know anything about them. Levers are simple machines that we use very often in our everyday lives.

Fact 1—What Are Levers?

Levers are simple machines. They help to move or lift objects like other machines designed for that purpose. Those machines perform the functions by changing the distance and force of objects, where force is the energy needed to displace or move different things. Levers perform the same types of functions and are attached to various objects or machines to make work easier and smoother. A lever can be a stiff bar or a board that is supported by another object, which is known as the “fulcrum” or the “pivot.”

Fact 2—Description of Levers

Levers are machines that work with the help of fulcrums attached to them at various places. They help to lift heavy objects without much effort. The distance of movement of the loads depends on the position of the fulcrum. If the object or the load is close to the fulcrum, it becomes easy to move it. The best example to explain the working of the levers is the seesaw that we all see in parks and playgrounds. When you sit at one end, the opposite end goes up if you do not have a partner sitting on it. However, when there is a load on both ends, the levers balance the objects according to their weight.

Fact 3—History of Levers

The bodies of living beings have natural levers inside them that are fitted with natural fulcrums. Whenever we bend down to pick up an object, we are using the arm bones as levers and the elbows as the fulcrums that together help us to carry out the functions properly. About 440 million years ago, the first levers were seen in fish. People have been using their levers right from the beginning of humankind. However, at the beginning levers were used to gather fruits and nuts and break them for food. Around 17,000 BC, people used levers to throw spears and gradually increased the distance they could travel.

Fact 4—Types of Levers

Levers are divided into three classes, namely the Class 1 lever, Class 2 lever, and Class 3 lever.

  1. Class 1 Lever: The fulcrum of the Class 1 lever is situated between the force and the load. A hammer and seesaw are the best examples of Class 1 levers.
  2. Class 2 Lever: With the Class 2 lever, the load or the heavy object lies between the fulcrum and the force. We see such levers in the wheelbarrow and stapler.
  3. Class 3 Lever: In the Class 3 lever, the force lies between the load and the fulcrum. The best examples of Class 3 levers are tongs or tweezers.

Fact 5—Various Uses of Levers

When people understand the great advantages of using levers, they start using the same principles for various purposes. Levers are used in the shaduf to help lift water from low areas and pour it into channels that carry it for irrigation. If the length of the stick is calculated accurately and the fulcrum is placed in the right position, the levers can do much more work than one can imagine.

A hammer is another example that works with the help of this simple machine. When we pull out nails, we use the special type of hammer that can hold the nail. However, the actual work of pulling them out is done with the help of a lever.

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