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Calculating Mechanical Advantage
Name: ___________
Class: ___________
Date: ___________
The mechanical advantage equations allow you to calculate the ideal or actual
mechanical advantage of a simple machine. The mechanical advantage is an indicator
of how force or distance is multiplied in a machine.
MA = effort arm length
load arm length
MA = input distance
output distance
actual MA = output force
input force
For each problem below, determine which equation you need to use, and solve the
problem. Show all your work!
1. A baseball player swings her bat and hits a baseball. The player’s hands move a
distance of 1.0 m while the end of the bat moves 1.5 m. What is the mechanical
advantage of the bat?
2. A crank (gear system) is used to pull a boat onto a trailer. The crank handle on
the drive gear moves a distance of 1.8 m while the follower gear moves a distance
of 0.3 m. What is the mechanical advantage of the device?
3. A chain hoist (pulley system) us used to lift the motor from a car. In order to
raise the motor a distance of 1.5 m, 7.5 m of chain had to be pulled through the
system. What is the mechanical advantage of the chain hoist?
Calculating Mechanical Advantage
4. A lever, 4 m long, has a fulcrum placed 3 m from the effort end. What force will
be necessary to lift a load of 600 N?
5. A pulley system is set up so that its mechanical advantage is 4. Assuming that
there is no friction in the system, how far will the load move if 6 m of rope pulled
through the system?