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- Mechanical Basics -

A Brief Review of Fundamental Concepts related to Mechanical Stuff

In order to understand some of the information presented on this site, it is sometimes helpful to have a handy refresher for background material which might not be totally familiar.

These subjects might have been somewhat of a pain when you encountered them in school. But the "need for speed" sometimes makes it less painful to review old subjects, and maybe gain some new knowledge. (Otherwise, you wouldn't be reading this page, right?)

I have tried to present the subjects in a painless way, using as little math as possible, and with as much reference as possible to examples everyone knows but may not have correlated.

The predominant system of units used here is "pounds-inches-seconds". For those interested in "metrification", there are countless sources for conversion factors.

If you want to pursue any of these subjects in greater depth than is presented here, you can start with the volumes listed in our Reference Library.

Table of Contents

 1. Force, Pressure and Friction Newton's three Laws of Motion, the concept of forces, and how forces relate to friction and pressure.

 2. Velocity and Acceleration The concepts of linear and angular velocity and acceleration, and the ways those concepts relate to engines and transmissions.

 3. Work and Energy The concepts of WORK and ENERGY, which provide the basis for understanding POWER.

 4. Power and Torque Explanation of the difference between power and torque; Why power depends on torque and RPM.

 5. Stress and Strain Definitions of stress and strain, how forces, pressures and implementation details generate stresses, stress concentrations, and strains in parts and components.

 6. Metal Fatigue Why components break after being exposed to a modest fluctuating load for an extended period of time.

 7. Fretting Also known as “Fretting Corrosion”, one of the most insidious causes of the failure of parts.

 8. Bearing Life Prediction The expected life of rolling element bearings is highly statistical, and varies dramatically as a function of several different factors.

 9. Properties of Belt Drives The operation of belt drives, and performance considerations which are common to all belt drives.

10. Fundamentals of Vibrations The basic concepts involved in understanding vibration, and the harmful effects of vibration.

11. Torsional Vibration A discussion of the special topic of torsional vibration, which can inflict severe harm both on engines and on the stuff driven by engines.

12. Transmissibility The concept behind the "silver bullet" for eliminating the destructive effects of vibration.