What Is the Definition of Simple Machines?

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A simple machine is a device that uses a fulcrum and lever system to perform a function, such as a cork screw or a basic lever. Apply force to a simple machine to discover the benefits of simple lever systems with insight from a math and science teacher in this free video on science.

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Video Transcript

Hi I'm Steve Jones and I'm going to tell you something about simple machines. Well any machine is a basically a device in which you put work and you get a different type of work out. And the machine will have a certain efficiency in other words, you can't get all of the work out that you put in. You lose some in the machine, the machine gets hot. So examples of simple machines are for example a cork screw. Now if you ever tried removing a cork from a bottle with your fingers, you know it is impossible. So a cork screw is just a device, it's a simple machine. And the way it works is you put a screw into a cork and then you use a lever system to remove the cork so the cork screw is just a lever. Even simpler a bottle opener is a pure lever system. And in fact also scissors are the same. These are different types of lever systems. And most of the simplest machines are based on this which is the simplest of all machines which is a lever and remember it was Archimedes that said give me a fulcrum and I will move the earth. Well a knife doesn't have a fulcrum but there is a machine involved with a knife because again you are applying a force. You know you put your finger on the end of the knife when you push down, you are creating a fulcrum with that, this also is a lever so in fact when we talk about simple machines. Most of the simple machines we talk about actually are levers. You put one kind of work in which is usually a force and you get another kind of work out which is a force somewhere else which is greater, and enables you do to a particular task. So that is basically what simple machines are.


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