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What is the mechanical advantage of a wedge?

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Quick Answer

The mechanical advantage of a single wedge is calculated by using the formula MA = length of slope/height of slope, where "MA" denotes the mechanical advantage. For a double wedge, the formula for solving the mechanical advantage is MA = effort distance/resistance force distance.

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Full Answer

A mechanical machine is a device that reduces the work load by multiplying the required force to carry out a particular task, thereby increasing the capacity to do work. The two types of mechanical machines are simple and compound. A simple machine consists of a single mechanical apparatus, while a compound machine is composed of two or more simple machines.

The six basic types of simple machines include the wheel and axle, inclined plane, lever, screw, pulley and wedge. These devices provide a mechanical advantage, which refers to the factor by which a machine multiplies a force. The efficiency and usefulness of a machine is determined by its mechanical advantage.

A wedge is a movable version of an inclined plane often used as holding devices. In a wedge, the direction of exerted effort is perpendicular to the height or vertical side. The mechanical advantage of a wedge increases with effort distance. The sharpness of a wedge also increases its usefulness. Common examples of wedges include knives, scissors, razors, axes, fork tines and nails.

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