Ideal machine
The term ideal machine refers to a mechanical system
Mechanical system
A mechanical system manages power to accomplish a task that involves forces and movement. Mechanical is derived from the Latin word machina, which in turn derives from the Doric Greek μαχανά , Ionic Greek μηχανή "contrivance, machine, engine" and that from μῆχος , "means, expedient, remedy".The...

 in which energy and power are not lost or dissipated through friction, deformation, wear, or other inefficiencies. Ideal machines have the theoretical maximum performance, and therefore are used as a baseline for evaluating the performance of real machine systems.

A simple machine
Simple machine
A simple machine is a mechanical device that changes the direction or magnitude of a force.In general, they can be defined as the simplest mechanisms that use mechanical advantage to multiply force. A simple machine uses a single applied force to do work against a single load force...

, such as a lever, pulley, or gear train, is "ideal" if the power in is equal to the power out of the device, which means there are no losses. In this case, the mechanical efficiency
Mechanical efficiency
Mechanical efficiency measures the effectiveness of a machine in transforming the energy and power that is input to the device into an output force and movement...

 is 100%.

Mechanical efficiency is the performance of the machine compared to its theoretical maximum as performed by an ideal machine. The mechanical efficiency of a simple machine is calculated by dividing the actual power output by the ideal power output. This is usually expressed as a percentage.

Power loss in a real system can occur in many ways, such as through friction, deformation, wear, heat losses, incomplete chemical conversion, magnetic and electrical losses.


A machine
Machine (mechanical)
The mechanical properties of a machine manage power to achieve desired forces and movement. Modern machines often include computers and sensors that monitor performance and plan movement, and are called mechanical systems....

 consists of a power source and a mechanism for the controlled use of this power. The power source often relies on chemical conversion to generate heat which is then used to generate power. Each stage of the process of power generation has a maximum performance limit which is identified as ideal.

Once the power is generated the mechanism components of the machine direct it toward useful forces and movement. The ideal mechanism does not absorb any power, which means the power in is equal to the power out.

An example is the automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 engine (internal combustion engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

) which burns fuel (an exothermic
In thermodynamics, the term exothermic describes a process or reaction that releases energy from the system, usually in the form of heat, but also in the form of light , electricity , or sound...

 chemical reaction) inside a cylinder and uses the expanding gases to drive a piston
A piston is a component of reciprocating engines, reciprocating pumps, gas compressors and pneumatic cylinders, among other similar mechanisms. It is the moving component that is contained by a cylinder and is made gas-tight by piston rings. In an engine, its purpose is to transfer force from...

. The movement of the piston rotates the crank shaft. The remaining mechanical components such as the transmission
Transmission (mechanics)
A machine consists of a power source and a power transmission system, which provides controlled application of the power. Merriam-Webster defines transmission as: an assembly of parts including the speed-changing gears and the propeller shaft by which the power is transmitted from an engine to a...

, drive shaft, differential, axle
An axle is a central shaft for a rotating wheel or gear. On wheeled vehicles, the axle may be fixed to the wheels, rotating with them, or fixed to its surroundings, with the wheels rotating around the axle. In the former case, bearings or bushings are provided at the mounting points where the axle...

s and wheel
A wheel is a device that allows heavy objects to be moved easily through rotating on an axle through its center, facilitating movement or transportation while supporting a load, or performing labor in machines. Common examples found in transport applications. A wheel, together with an axle,...

s form the power transmission mechanism that directs the power from the engine into friction forces on the road to move the automobile.

The ideal machine has the maximum energy conversion performance combined with a lossless power transmission mechanism that yields maximum performance.
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