Why Does Distance From Fulcrum Matter With A Lever?

Lever_drawing

Lil help? 

I’m having trouble grasping at a fundamental level why DISTANCE matters on a lever.  I understand that it does matter.  I even understand that the total force pushing down one side of a lever is equal to “(distance from fulcrum) * (mass).”  I like to think of this as a rectangle, with one side equal to “d” and one to “m.”  If both arms of the lever have a rectangle with the same area then they will balance.  If not, the bigger rectangle will descend.

I’ve been working on understanding why MASS matters for awhile now.  People talk about curved Space-Time, or Ether differentials, but mass still remains fundamentally obscure.

But I’m missing something with WHY Distance-from-fulcrum matters.  I do the simple math, but the reasoning behind the math escapes me.

The explanation of the lever appears to me the most important fact in all of physics.  So much of the rest of mechanics is just a version of the lever– and I don’t fully comprehend it!

Advertisements

One thought on “Why Does Distance From Fulcrum Matter With A Lever?

  1. I think I’m a step closer today than yesterday. It has to do with the center of gravity of the whole system, I think, not just one arm considered in isolation. I’ve been trying to imagine a floating narrow plank of wood with a weight stuck on various places toward one end (as in, trying to isolate one arm)0– but I think this has just confused me more. :/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s