Monday, August 13, 2007

Simple Machines

I had this idea of posting information of this device which I implemented sometime back with the help of my fellow class mates. A device which explains the functions of simple machines and energy transmission. It was intended to assist students at school understand the way those simple machines work in an enjoyable manner.

During my childhood days I had a desire of playing with small marble balls with my friends and cousins. We would collect old Video & Audio Cassettes, PVC tubes etc to make various settings by arranging all the cassettes vertically in some pattern and setting a tube on front of the first cassette. Then we say "1...2....3...go.." and we let a marble ball travel through the tube and it bangs the first cassette and way it goes on making falling all the other cassettes "thud thud" which was very fascinating to watch and we do not miss the banged ball which we route it to some destination which inturn bangs another set of cassettes. We enjoy the game and go for another different arrangement with same instruments we have.

I've seen similar activities in TV shows where they do it at a big level also in some films(like in the final scene of the Tamil film Apoorwa Sahodararhal) the concept was applied. Those things were encouraging me to myself do something big someday.

And yes the event and moment came. It was a provincial level exhibition (Thambapanni 2001) during my O/Ls(2001). I initiated the idea among my friends with a initial sketch which look like the following figures to do something useful for our next generation to learn. There was "oks" & "uhmms" coz no one was aware how it's gonna function. I explained it to my Science teacher, and she explained it to the class and gave the permission to do so. Luckily we implemented within three days with all the old & used stuff we collected to avoid expenses, and took it to the exibition.

I was nearly jumping on my feet when I heard the news that the device we implemented has been selected for the National Level Exhibition at Issipathana College Colombo 4. Unfortunately I wasn't able to participate in it due to another quiz competition I had to participate. A couple of classmates represented our school on behalf of our school. It was a great achievement for my efforts..

Ok what's this device about? I'll explain from the following figure:

It is a device which explains the functionalities of simple machines and energy transmission. Energy cannot be created or destroyed,but transformed to other forms. Initially some wooden blocks are arranged as above,the tap like structure at the Wheel & axis section is closed, two marbles are placed at one end of the lever, while another heavier marble ball is placed on top of the last wood.Then we hold a marble which means it is static and at some height. So some amount of potential energy is saved at that point.

When we release the marble ball at the tip of the tube by the accellaration of gravity it travels and the energy tranforms into Kinetic energy. The ball bangs on the first wooden block it encounters and falls in to the funnel and drops into a cup on the other side.The blocks fall on one another till the last block which has a heavier ball falls and drops on the Inclined plane(a sort of simple machine). That ball travels down the slope and drops on to the empty end of the Lever(another simple machine). Because of the force of fall, the other two balls at the other end of the lever jump and travel together with the heavier ball into the Wheel & Axis area(A simple machine). The functionality of the simple machines are well understood as the balls travel which is more easier for the learning student. We open the tap which directs the three marble balls to the cup which the very first marble landed. Now we've got all four marbles in one place. There is one more machine to explain as we move to the side of the device:

The last simple machine of our device is the Pulley. We show that the pulley is very handy to carry the bucket to the top. That concludes the explanation of energy transmission and functionalities of simple machines in a brief manner. But it would be appealing to see it work directly...:)

You want to know more about simple machines go to this site

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