Thursday, June 28, 2018
Biomechanics of Movement: The Three Classes of Levers
Biomechanics refers to the study of the mechanical principles of living organisms, particularly their movement and structure. In the human body this is known as kinesiology.
Most movements of the musculoskeletal structure are determined by the three classes of levers.
Levers are classified by the relative positions of the fulcrum and the input and output forces. It is common to call the input force the effort and the output force the load or the resistance. This allows the identification of three classes of levers by the relative locations of the fulcrum, the resistance and the effort:
Class 1: Fulcrum in the middle: the effort is applied on one side of the fulcrum and the resistance on the other side, for example, a seesaw, a crowbar or a pair of scissors. Mechanical advantage may be greater or less than 1.
Class 2: Resistance in the middle: the effort is applied on one side of the resistance and the fulcrum is located on the other side, for example, a wheelbarrow, a nutcracker, a bottle opener or the brake pedal of a car. Mechanical advantage is always greater than 1.
Class 3: Effort in the middle: the resistance is on one side of the effort and the fulcrum is located on the other side, for example, a pair of tweezers or the human mandible. Mechanical advantage is always less than 1.