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Dirtmeister's Science Lab on Levers
What is a Lever

What do a fork, a pair of scissors, and the little handle that flushes your toilet have in common? Well, apart from being common devices found in most modern households, they're all levers, and levers are some of the most important machines going. They've been around for thousands of years.

Simply put, levers are machines used to increase force. We call them "simple machines" because they have only two parts — the handle and the fulcrum. The handle or bar of the lever is called the "arm" — Scissorsit's the part that you push or pull on. The "fulcrum" is the point on which the lever turns or balances. In the case of a fork, the fulcrum is the fingers of your hand. Scissors are really two levers put together. The handle on the toilet flusher is commonly called a fixed lever. Take a quick look around you and see how many levers you can find.

To build your own lever and see one in action, try my Science Lab.

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