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Wheel And Axle Facts: A Simple Vintage Utility Machine

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The wheel and axle is an ancient form of simple machine.

Its discovery proved to be revolutionary. Wheel and axle are resourceful machines even in the time of modern engineering.

According to researchers, the first type of the wheel and axle was invented in Mesopotamia in 3500 BCE. They had a basic mechanism of wheel and axle and the engineering was not advanced at that time.

Types Of Wheel And Axle

There are two types of basic mechanisms which has the wheels and axles to move things, one where the force is applied directly to the wheel and the other where the force is applied on the axle.

The screwdriver is a good example of a wheel and axle where the force is applied to the wheel. The handle of the screwdriver is known to act as the wheel. Force applied on the handle turns or spins the machine increasing the force of the axle which in turn turns the screw. The doorknob is another example where the force is applied to the wheel. When the doorknob is turned, the connected locking mechanisms turn and the door can be opened.

The Ferris wheel is an example where the force is applied to the axle. When the cylindrical rod of the center or the axle turns, it results in turning the giant wheel attached to it. The electric fan works in the same mechanism. In most cases, machines that move in a circle have a wheel and axle of some form attached to them.

Characteristics Of The Wheel And Axle

The wheel and axle are a type of simple machine. While in motion, the force exerted works in an opposite direction from the force of friction. This enables the object to move forward with the least resistance.

The wheel and axle replaced the old methods of transferring things on sleds or logs which caused large friction when they were dragged across the ground. A wheel and axle rotate together and the force gets transferred from one to another. The driving force can be applied tangentially while the force of the load is applied on the axle. These forces are balanced on the hinge known as the fulcrum. Every time you ride a bike, you ride on two wheels and axles, while in the case of a car, you ride on four.

Wheel and axle are simple machines.

Common Wheel And Axle Examples

Many common objects of everyday life work on the mechanism of wheel and axle. Some examples are:

Bicycle- The input force applied to the axle of the bicycle, through the rider pushing on the pedals, allows motion and causes the wheels to move.

Car- When the engine of cars applies force to the car tires, it causes the wheels to rotate accordingly.

Ferris Wheel- The center point of the Ferris wheel contains a cylindrical rod subjected to a high magnitude electrical force that causes it to rotate, and in turn that rotates the wheel.

Water wheel- The paddles of the water wheel rotate as water flows, and the motion of the wheel exerts a force on the axle which in turn produces energy.


Q: What is true about the wheel and axle?

A: It is true that the wheel and axle rotate at the same rate.

Q: What is a simple machine?

A: A simple machine is a type of mechanical device that uses the simplest designs to change the direction or magnitude of force. They have a few moving parts to modify motion.

Q: Who invented the wheel and axle?

A: The first wheels and axles were designed by the early Greeks in ancient times. Their construction was very basic.

Q: How is a door knob a wheel and an axle?

A: A door knob is an example of a wheel and axle where the door knob itself acts as a wheel and the shaft of the lockset acts as the axle.

Q: What type of simple machine are stairs?

A: Stairs are also an example of simple machines referred to as inclined planes.

Q: How to make a wheel and axle with household items?

A: You can make a wheel and axle at home using objects like a button, circular cardboard, round disc, thread spool, and plastic cap for the wheel and cardboard tube, plastic bottle, and bamboo stick for the axle.

Q: Who invented the screw simple machine?

A: The simple machine called screw was invented by Archimedes in the 3rd century BCE but in the first century, the use of wooden screws was noticed.

Q: Which is an example of a wheel and axle?

A: Bicycle wheel, Ferris wheel, electric fan are all examples of a wheel and axle machine.

Q: How are a wheel and axle used?

A: The wheel and axle are used for move the load of heavy objects as well as to move machinery for complex machines.

Q: How to make a wheel and axle out of cardboard?

A: To make a cardboard wheel and axle machine you need to have two pieces of circular cardboard and several cardboard tubes.

Q: Who created the wheel and axle?

A: The pottery wheels of the Mesopotamian civilization were an example of wheel and axle, they came 2000 years before the Greeks.

Q: What is the definition of wheel and axle?

A: The wheel and axle is a type of lever consisting of a rope that unwinds from a wheel onto the shaft joining the wheel to change the magnitude and direction of force applied.

Written By
Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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