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Key words: Simple machines, Class 1, Class 2, lever, force mechanical advantage, fulcrum, effort, load, weight, physical science, Ron Kurtus, School for Champions. Copyright © Restrictions

Increasing Force with a Lever

by Ron Kurtus (20 November 2014)

You can use a Class 1 or Class 2 lever to increase the force pushing on the load, according to where the fulcrum is located. To increase the force on the load, the length of the effort arm of the lever must be greater than the length of the load arm.

The equation for the forces relates to the force mechanical advantage of the lever. From the equation, you can determine an unknown force or length.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions. Useful tool: Units Conversion



Using Class 1 or Class 2 lever

You can use a lever to increase the applied force in order to lift a heavy load.

Lift heavy load with Class 1 lever

Lift heavy load with Class 1 lever

An application is using a Class 1 lever to lift a large rock.

Lift heavy load with Class 2 lever

Lift heavy load with Class 2 lever

A wheelbarrow is an example of using a Class 2 lever to lift and transport a heavy load. With a wheelbarrow, the wheel acts as the fulcrum.

Lever force equation

The relationship between the effort and force on the load is dependent on the ratio of the arms of the lever, according to the equation:

FL/FE= dE/dL

or

FLdL= FEdE

where

Note: FL/FE is also the force mechanical advantage of the lever.

(See Mechanical Advantage for more information.)

Application

How much effort is required to lift a load of 20 kilograms when the effort arm is 10 meters and the load arm is 1 meter?

Start by solving FLdL= FEdE for FE:

FE = FLdL/dE

Substitute in values:

FL = 20 kg

dL = 0.5 m

dE = 2 m

FE= 20*(0.5)/2 = 5 kg push required to lift the 20 kg weight.

Summary

You can use a Class 1 or Class 2 lever to increase the force pushing on the load, according to where the fulcrum is located. To increase the force on the load, the length of the effort arm of the lever must be greater than the length of the load arm.

The equation for the forces relates to the force mechanical advantage of the lever. From the equation, you can determine an unknown force or length.


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Resources and references

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