Types of lever – Simple machines – Physics

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A man and a girl on a seesaw

What kind of lever is a see-saw?

All levers fall into one of three types of lever. How can we tell which lever is in which class?

Well, a first-class lever is a stick where the fulcrum is in between the weight and the energy moving the weight (your hands, for example). Some common first-class levers are see-saws, crowbars, and pliers. A pair of scissors scissors (which use two first-class levers together), and a hammer pulling a nail are also first class levers.

A man pushing some kids in a wheelbarrow

What kind of lever is a wheelbarrow?

And then a second-class lever is a stick where the fulcrum is at one end of the stick and you push on the other end. The weight is in the middle of the stick. Some common second-class levers are doors, staplers, wheelbarrows, and can openers.

A woman playing softball

What kind of lever is a baseball bat?

And then a third-class lever is a stick where the fulcrum is at one end of the stick, you push on the middle, and the weight is at the other end of the stick. With a third-class lever, you have to put in more energy than you would just lifting the weight, but you get the weight to move a longer distance in return. Some common examples are a broom, a hoe, a fishing rod, a baseball bat, and our own human arms.

Learn by doing: Find examples of each kind of lever that aren’t mentioned here
More about simple machines

Bibliography and further reading about simple machines:

   

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By | 2017-08-17T09:26:03+00:00 August 17th, 2017|Physics|2 Comments
Cite this page: Carr, K.E. Types of lever – Simple machines – Physics. Quatr.us Study Guides, August 17, 2017. Web. December 11, 2017.

About the Author:

Karen Carr

Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

2 Comments

  1. Kakoola Suzan November 13, 2017 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    I have found this very helpful.

    Thanks Karen Carr

    • Karen Carr
      Karen Carr November 20, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      Wow, that’s great! Thanks for letting us know. I’d be happy to answer any more questions you have if I can.

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