Deffinition - M ACHINES AND C LASSICAL M ECHANICS There are four known types of force in the universe gravitational electromagnetic weak nuclear

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M ACHINES AND C LASSICAL M ECHANICS There are four known types of force in the universe: gravitational, electromagnetic, weak nuclear, and strong nuclear. This was the order in which the forces were identified, and the number of machines that use each force descends in the same order. The essay that follows will make little or no reference to nuclear-powered machines. Somewhat more attention will be paid to electrical machines; however, to trace in detail the development of forces in that context would require a new and somewhat cumbersome vocabulary. Instead, the machines presented for consideration here depend purely on gravitational force and the types of force explainable purely in a gravitational framework. This is the realm of classical physics, a term used to describe the studies of physicists from the time of Galileo Galilei (1564- 1642) to the end of the nineteenth century. During this era, physicists were primarily concerned with large-scale interactions that were easily comprehended by the senses, as opposed to the atomic behaviors that have become the subject of modern physics. Late in the classical era, the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879)—building on the work of many distinguished predecessors—identified electromagnetic force. For most of the period, however, the focus was on gravitational force and mechanics, or the study of matter, motion, and forces. Likewise, the majority of machines invented and built during most of the classical period worked according to the mechanical principles of plain gravitational force. This was even true to some extent with the steam engine, first developed late in the seventeenth century and brought to fruition by Scotland's James Watt (1736-1819.) Yet the steam engine, though it involved ordinary mechanical processes in part, represented a new type of machine, which used thermal energy. This is also true of the internal-combustion engine; yet both steam- and gas-powered engines to some extent borrowed the structure of the hydraulic press, one of the three basic types of machine. Then came the development of electronic power, thanks to Thomas Edison (1847-1931) and others, and machines became increasingly divorced from basic mechanical laws. T HE LEVER , LIKE THIS HYDROELECTRIC ENGINE LEVER , IS A SIMPLE MACHINE THAT PERFECTLY ILLUSTRATES THE CONCEPT OF MECHANICAL ADVANTAGE . (Photograph by E.O. Hoppe/Corbis
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. Reproduced by permission.) The heyday of classical mechanics—when classical studies in mechanics represented the absolute cutting edge of experimentation—was in the period from the beginning of the seventeenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth. One figure held a dominant position in the world of physics during those two centuries, and indeed was the central figure in the history of physics between Galileo and Albert Einstein (1879-1955). This was Sir Isaac Newton (1642- 1727), who discerned the most basic laws of physical reality—laws that govern everyday life,
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This note was uploaded on 02/15/2011 for the course ECON 5432 taught by Professor Jon during the Summer '04 term at A.T. Still University.

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Deffinition - M ACHINES AND C LASSICAL M ECHANICS There are four known types of force in the universe gravitational electromagnetic weak nuclear

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