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physics of being a mechanic



In our everyday world, mechanics that work with cars in autoshops work with a physics concept that we all know and love: Torque! Cars are working machines that are assembled by many parts and those parts are held together by bolts and screws and lug nuts. Tools such as wrenches and pliers allow mechanics to secure parts by putting the nuts and bolts on the car.

Torque is equal to the applied force times the radius or length from the fulcrum of the object. (T= Fr) To ensure that a lug nut stays on the part of the car and stays there, a wrench should be used.

To apply a greater torque, a longer wrench should be used when repairing a car. In an experimental setting, a mechanic may want to pick the best wrench to ensure that a lug nut is securely fastened on a part in the car. If he applies the same force to the end of each wrench, would he be better off using a 18 inch wrench or a 12 inch wrench? Well, the equation shows that if the force is kept constant, Torque is directly proportional to the length of the wrench. The longer the wrench, the greater the torque if the force is kept constant.

So in the future, if a lug nut isn't staying properly fastened on your car, using a longer wrench may be very helpful.


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