Civil engineer Sofia Puerto teaches us how cranes work

Civil engineer Sofia Puerto teaches us how cranes work

Super tall and strong cranes help us move really heavy objects. But how do they work? Sofia Puerto, a civil engineer, can teach us about them. Let’s start with the basics. What is a simple machine? Simple machines are tools that help us move very heavy things or lift very heavy objects or simply hold things together. The beauty of a simple machine is, that it actually helps us do things a lot faster and easier, then doing them with our bare hands. Ancient cranes helped build amazing cities that stand today. Nowadays, cranes still help us build cities that we live in. A crane combines pulleys and levers to lift and move things around a construction site. A lever is a long stick or beam that has a point along it called a “fulcrum”, like a seesaw on the playground. Levers make it easier to lift things up The longer the lever is, the easier it is to move something. And that’s the reason why cranes are so big and tall, because they need very long arms to lift things when building a bridge or a building or a road. A pulley is one or more wheels with a rope wrapped around it. If you have one pulley, it changes your force in the opposite direction. If you have more than one pulley, your force gets spread out between the pulleys to help you move things more easily. Now, if you look carefully, you’ll probably find out that there’s more than one pulley in a crane. Because the more pulleys it has, the easier it will be to lift things. So why does the crane lift such heavy things without tipping over? Well, the crane also has a counterweight that keeps the crane from tipping over. How do these simple machines help us? Well, it’s because of mechanical advantage. By increasing or changing the direction of the force, make the jobs we need to do much, much easier. Start building your crane on Curiosity Machine! What kinds of awesome things will you be able to move?


  1. Post
    Nathaniel Olivas

    Great explanation! I'm in the office alot but I went out to a construction site and was curious how cranes worked. Thank you :). Now time to build my own crane…

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