wheel and axle


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

wheel and axle,

simple machinemachine,
arrangement of moving and stationary mechanical parts used to perform some useful work or to provide transportation. From a historical perspective, many of the first machines were the result of human efforts to improve war-making capabilities; the term engineer
..... Click the link for more information.
 consisting of a wheel mounted rigidly upon an axle or drum of smaller diameter, the wheel and the axle having the same axis. It is fundamentally a form of leverlever,
simple machine consisting of a bar supported at some stationary point along its length and used to overcome resistance at a second point by application of force at a third point. The stationary point of a lever is known as its fulcrum.
..... Click the link for more information.
, the center common to both the wheel and the axle corresponding to the fulcrum, the radii of the two parts to the arms. The effort (applied to the wheel) needed to overcome the resistance (acting upon the axle) is relatively small. The mechanical advantage gained by the use of the wheel is equal to the ratio of the radius of the wheel to the radius of the axle. The wheel and axle is not as efficient as the lever, since a part of the effort must be used to overcome the resistance of frictionfriction,
resistance offered to the movement of one body past another body with which it is in contact. In certain situations friction is desired. Without friction the wheels of a locomotive could not "grip" the rails nor could power be transmitted by belts.
..... Click the link for more information.
. In common use, a crank or handle often takes the place of the wheel. Applications of the wheel and axle are numerous in everyday life; examples are the steering wheel of an automobile, the doorknob, and the windlass. The effort is applied through a greater distance than is the resistance, but this effort is applied conveniently in a circle. In the treadmill, the windmill, and the waterwheel, the wheel and axle led the way to the utilization of power in modern machinery. Clockmakers were pioneers in devising ways of transmitting and controlling power by the use of the wheel and axle.
References in periodicals archive ?
When effort is applied to the axle (for example, in an automobile), the wheel and axle increases the speed and distance.
This type of wheel and axle can be used to help lift very heavy items.
The windlass, or winch, which is often used to raise water from a well, works like this second kind of wheel and axle.
When gears of different sizes are connected, they function like a wheel and axle.