The wedge is a basic machine that shows clever engineering with its portable inclined plane. Its shape, like a triangle, makes it super useful in many jobs, like splitting, lifting, and holding things in place just right.

When you push on the wide part of the wedge, the force gets concentrated at the pointed end. This focused force helps the wedge do its job, like breaking or splitting stuff really well. Whether it's splitting logs, shaping stones, or holding things together in woodworking, the wedge can do it all.

Picking the right wedge means thinking about its length and angle. Short wedges with wide angles can get jobs done faster but need more force. Long wedges with narrow angles need less force but take more time. Craftsmen and engineers can choose the best wedge for the job to work efficiently and accurately.

So, the next time you see a wedge, remember how its simple shape and design make tough tasks easier and more precise.

History of the Wedge

The history of the wedge dates back to ancient times, making it one of the oldest and simplest mechanical devices known to humans. Throughout history, the wedge has played a vital role in various civilizations, serving as a versatile tool for a wide range of tasks.

Throughout history, the wedge has been a symbol of ingenuity and innovation, enabling humans to overcome physical obstacles and accomplish tasks with greater efficiency and precision. Its simple yet effective design continues to make it a fundamental tool in engineering, construction, and manufacturing processes.

Mechanical Advantage (MA)

The mechanical advantage of a wedge is given by the ratio of the length of its slope to its width. Wedges are used to lift heavy objects, separating them from the surface upon which they rest. Consider a block that is to be lifted by a wedge. As the wedge slides under the block, the block slides up the sloped side of a wedge. This lifts the weight FB of the block. The horizontal force FA needed to lift the block is obtained by considering the velocity of the wedge vA and the velocity of the block vB. If we assume the wedge does not dissipate or store energy, then the power into the wedge equals the power out. The velocity of the block is related to the velocity of the wedge by the slope of the side of the wedge. The angle of the wedge is α.

Common Uses

Wedges can also be used to hold objects in places, such as engine parts (poppet valves), bicycle parts (stems and eccentric bottom brackets), and doors. A wedge-type door stop (door wedge) functions largely because of the friction generated between the bottom of the door and the wedge, and the wedge and the floor. They also are commonly used in axes and mauls to cut trees and split wood. This example is one of the first tools ever created.