The Story of
the Automaton

Putting It In Motion...

For Teachers

For Students

For Reference

A wheel and axle is a simple machine made up of two circular objects of different size. The axle (a small wheel) is attached to the center of a larger wheel. All wheels need an axle. The wheel and axle must move together to be a simple machine. A wheel and axle lifts or moves loads.

Effort applied to the wheel turns the axle, or effort applied to the axle turns the wheel. They move together. When effort is applied to the wheel, the wheel and axle spreads the force over a greater distance. If the radius of the wheel is two times larger than the radius of the axle, every time you turn the wheel once, the force will be multiplied by two. A wheel and axle can produce a gain in either effort or distance, depending on how it is used.

Examples of a wheel and axle can be found in doorknobs, roller skates, and the handles of a faucet.