Figure 1-4.-This makes it easier.
Figure 1-5.-A third-class lever.
weight or resistance to be overcome is at the other end,
with the effort applied at some point between. You can
always spot the third-class levers because you will find
the effort applied between the fulcrum and the
resistance. Look at figure 1-5. It is easy to see that while
E moved the short distance (e), the resistance (R) was
moved a greater distance (r). The speed of R must have
been greater than that of E, since R covered a greater
distance in the same length of time.
Your arm (fig. 1-6) is a third-class lever. It is this
lever action that makes it possible for you to flex your
arms so quickly. Your elbow is the fulcrum. Your biceps
muscle, which ties onto your forearm about an inch
below the elbow, applies the effort; your hand is the
resistance, located about 18 inches from the fulcrum. In
the split second it takes your biceps muscle to contract
an inch, your hand has moved through an 18-inch arc.
You know from experience that it takes a big pull at E
to overcome a relatively small resistance at R. Just to
experience this principle, try closing a door by pushing
on it about 3 or 4 inches from the hinges (fulcrum). The
moral is, you dont use third-class levers to do heavy
jobs; you use them to gain speed.
Figure 1-6.-Your arm is a lever.
Figure 1-7.-Easy does it.
One convenience of machines is that you can
determine in advance the forces required for their
operation, as well as the forces they will exert. Consider
for a moment the first class of levers. Suppose you have
an iron bar, like the one shown in figure 1-7. This bar is
9 feet long, and you want to use it to raise a 300-pound
crate off the deck while you slide a dolly under the crate;
but you can exert only 100 pounds to lift the crate. So,
you place the fulcrum-a wooden block-beneath one
end of the bar and force that end of the bar under the
crate. Then, you push down on the other end of the bar.
After a few adjustments of the position of the fulcrum,
you will find that your 100-pound force will just fit the
crate when the fulcrum is 2 feet from the center of the
crate. That leaves a 6-foot length of bar from the fulcrum
to the point where you pushdown. The 6-foot portion is
three times as long as the distance from the fulcrum to
the center of the crate. And you lifted a load three times
as great as the force you applied (3 x 100 = 300 pounds).