Lead screws are used to convert rotational motion into linear motion. They are often used as components of jack screws. When the screw is turned, it pushes in a direction, which is useful in certain mechanical devices.
Unlike common screws, lead screws are used as parts of machines rather than for holding parts together. They are not meant to stay in one place, and their turning motion can push or pull what they are attached to. While they are typically slower than other types of linear actuators, they are also reliable. Because of this, they are often used on aircraft to prevent sudden movements.
Lead screws are also sometimes used in robotics. Their slow speed makes them inappropriate for use when quick responses are needed, but their precision makes them a viable option for a number of tasks. Lead screws are also relatively simple, and their durability makes them a popular choice for certain roles.
Lead screws are also sometimes used in screw jacks. By converting a large amount of rotation into a small amount of vertical motion, they can make lifting heavy objects easier. They are similar to pulleys, but they lift object that are still on a base.