Machines employ power to achieve desired forces and movement (motion). A machine has a power source and actuators that generate forces and movement, and a system of mechanisms that shape the actuator input to achieve a specific application of output forces and movement. Modern machines often include computers and sensors that monitor performance and plan movement, and are called mechanical systems. The meaning of the word "machine" is traced by the Oxford English Dictionary to an independently functioning structure and by Merriam-Webster Dictionary to something that has been constructed. This includes human design into the meaning of machine. The adjective "mechanical" refers to skill in the practical application of an art or science, as well as relating to or caused by movement, physical forces, properties or agents such as is dealt with by mechanics. Similarly Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "mechanical" as relating to machinery or tools. Power flow through a machine provides a way to understand the performance of devices ranging from levers and gear trains to automobiles and robotic systems. The German mechanician Franz Reuleaux wrote "a machine is a combination of resistant bodies so arranged that by their means the mechanical forces of nature can be compelled to do work accompanied by certain determinate motion." Notice that forces and motion combine to define power. More recently, Uicker et al. stated that a machine is "a device for applying power or changing its direction." And McCarthy and Soh describe a machine as a system that "generally consists of a power source and a mechanism for the controlled use of this power."
1 Simple machines 2 Power sources 3 Mechanisms
3.1 Gears and gear trains
4 Structural components 5 Mechanics
5.1 Dynamics of machines
Simple machines Main article: Simple machine
Table of simple mechanisms, from Chambers' Cyclopædia, 1728.
The idea that a machine can be broken down into simple movable
Natural forces such as wind and water powered larger mechanical systems. Waterwheels appeared around the world around 300 BC to use flowing water to generate rotary motion, which was applied to milling grain, and powering lumber, machining and textile operations. Modern water turbines use water flowing through a dam to drive an electric generator. Early windmills captured wind power to generate rotary motion for milling operations. Modern wind turbines also drives a generator. This electricity in turn is used to drive motors forming the actuators of mechanical systems. The word engine derives from "ingenuity" and originally referred to contrivances that may or may not be physical devices. See Merriam-Webster's definition of engine. A steam engine uses heat to boil water contained in a pressure vessel; the expanding steam drives a piston or a turbine. This principle can be seen in the aeolipile of Hero of Alexandria. This is called an external combustion engine. An automobile engine is called an internal combustion engine because it burns fuel (an exothermic chemical reaction) inside a cylinder and uses the expanding gases to drive a piston. A jet engine uses a turbine to compress air which is burned with fuel so that it expands through a nozzle to provide thrust to an aircraft, and so is also an "internal combustion engine." The heat from coal and natural gas combustion in a boiler generates steam that drives a steam turbine to rotate an electric generator. A nuclear power plant uses heat from a nuclear reactor to generate steam and electric power. This power is distributed through a network of transmission lines for industrial and individual use. Electric motors use either AC or DC electric current to generate rotational movement. Electric servomotors are the actuators for mechanical systems ranging from robotic systems to modern aircraft. Hydraulic and pneumatic systems use electrically driven pumps to drive water or air respectively into cylinders to power linear movement. Mechanisms A machine consists of an actuator input, a system of mechanisms that generate the output forces and movement, and an interface to the user. Electric motors, hydraulic and pneumatic actuators provide the input forces and movement. This input is shaped by mechanisms consisting of gears and gear trains, belt and chain drives, cam and follower mechanisms, and linkages as well as friction devices such as brakes and clutches. Structural components consist of the frame, fasteners, bearings, springs, lubricants and seals, as well as a variety of specialized machine elements such as splines, pins and keys. The user interface ranges from switches and buttons to programmable logic controllers and includes the covers that provide texture, color and styling. Gears and gear trains
The transmission of rotation between contacting toothed wheels can be
traced back to the
The ratio of the pitch circles of mating gears defines the speed ratio and the mechanical advantage of the gear set. A planetary gear train provides high gear reduction in a compact package. It is possible to design gear teeth for gears that are non-circular, yet still transmit torque smoothly. The speed ratios of chain and belt drives are computed in the same way as gear ratios. See bicycle gearing.
Schematic of the actuator and four-bar linkage that position an aircraft landing gear.
A linkage is a collection of links connected by joints. Generally, the links are the structural elements and the joints allow movement. Perhaps the single most useful example is the planar four-bar linkage. However, there are many more special linkages:
Planar mechanism A planar mechanism is a mechanical system that is constrained so the trajectories of points in all the bodies of the system lie on planes parallel to a ground plane. The rotational axes of hinged joints that connect the bodies in the system are perpendicular to this ground plane. Spherical mechanism A spherical mechanism is a mechanical system in which the bodies move in a way that the trajectories of points in the system lie on concentric spheres. The rotational axes of hinged joints that connect the bodies in the system pass through the center of these circle. Spatial mechanism A spatial mechanism is a mechanical system that has at least one body that moves in a way that its point trajectories are general space curves. The rotational axes of hinged joints that connect the bodies in the system form lines in space that do not intersect and have distinct common normals. Flexure mechanisms A flexure mechanism consists of a series of rigid bodies connected by compliant elements (also known as flexure joints) that is designed to produce a geometrically well-defined motion upon application of a force. Structural components A number of machine elements provide important structural functions such as the frame, bearings, splines, spring and seals.
The recognition that the frame of a mechanism is an important machine element changed the name three-bar linkage into four-bar linkage. Frames are generally assembled from truss or beam elements. Bearings are components designed to manage the interface between moving elements and are the source of friction in machines. In general, bearings are designed for pure rotation or straight line movement. Splines and keys are two ways to reliably mount an axle to a wheel, pulley or gear so that torque can be transferred through the connection. Springs provides forces that can either hold components of a machine in place or acts as a suspension to support part of a machine. Seals are used between mating parts of a machine to ensure fluids, such as water, hot gases, or lubricant do not leak between the mating surfaces. Fasteners such as screws, bolts, spring clips, and rivets are critical to the assembly of components of a machine. Fasteners are generally considered to be removable. In contrast, joining methods, such as welding, soldering, crimping and the application of adhesives, usually require cutting the parts to disassemble the components
Usher reports that Hero of Alexandria's treatise on Mechanics
focussed on the study of lifting heavy weights. Today mechanics refers
to the mathematical analysis of the forces and movement of a
mechanical system, and consists of the study of the kinematics and
dynamics of these systems.
Dynamics of machines
The dynamic analysis of machines begins with a rigid-body model to
determine reactions at the bearings, at which point the elasticity
effects are included. The rigid-body dynamics studies the movement of
systems of interconnected bodies under the action of external forces.
The assumption that the bodies are rigid, which means that they do not
deform under the action of applied forces, simplifies the analysis by
reducing the parameters that describe the configuration of the system
to the translation and rotation of reference frames attached to each
The dynamics of a rigid body system is defined by its equations of
motion, which are derived using either
Newtons laws of motion
invention, which involves the identification of a need, development of requirements, concept generation, prototype development, manufacturing, and verification testing; performance engineering involves enhancing manufacturing efficiency, reducing service and maintenance demands, adding features and improving effectiveness, and validation testing; recycle is the decommissioning and disposal phase and includes recovery and reuse of materials and components.
Gear train Linkage (mechanical) List of mechanical, electrical and electronic equipment manufacturing companies by revenue Machine Mechanism (engineering) Mechanical advantage Outline of automation Outline of machines Power (physics) Simple machines Virtual work Work (physics)
^ a b Oxford English Dictionary
^ Merriam-Webster Dictionary Definition of machine
^ Merriam-Webster Dictionary Definition of mechanical
^ a b Reuleaux, F., 1876 The
Oberg, Erik; Franklin D. Jones; Holbrook L. Horton; Henry H. Ryffel
(2000). Christopher J. McCauley; Riccardo Heald; Muhammed Iqbal
v t e
Classical simple machines
Inclined plane Lever Pulley Screw Wedge Wheel and axle
Atomic clock Chronometer Pendulum clock Quartz clock
Compressors and pumps
Archimedes' screw Eductor-jet pump Hydraulic ram Pump Trompe Vacuum pump
External combustion engines
Steam engine Stirling engine
Internal combustion engines
Reciprocating engine Gas turbine
Gas turbine Jet engine Steam turbine Water turbine Wind generator Windmill
Sail Wing Rudder Flap Propeller
Vacuum tube Transistor Diode Resistor Capacitor Inductor
Mecha Robot Vending machine Wind tunnel Check weighing machines Rivet