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How Does A Wheelbarrow Work?

How Does a Wheelbarrow Work

A wheelbarrow is one of the most of the essential tools that we need in our homes and can be used during construction, landscaping or even gardening to ferry things from one place to another. It is categorized as a compound machine because it makes work easier and it consists of more than one machine. But how does a wheelbarrow work? How it works is quite simple. It consists of three simple machines: the lever, inclined plane, and the wheel and axle and is designed to be pushed by one person by the use of two handles on the rear.

Why It Consists of More Than One Machine

The basic idea of a machine is that it makes works easier. A wheelbarrow, therefore, reduces the effort required to perform a particular task. When an extra machine is added to an existing machine, the aim is to equally spread the effort needed and make the work even simpler compared to how it would have been when using only one machine.


A lever is a simple machine that minimizes the effort required to perform a task and consists of arms. Levers are categorized into different classes, and a wheelbarrow falls under class two levers where the resistance arms are in the middle between the effort arm and the fulcrum. The handles are used to lift the heavy load in the wheelbarrow and are therefore the effort arm.

The load inside the barrow and the barrow itself are the resistance arm. The wheel, on the other hand, is the fulcrum and it allows for the wheelbarrow to pivot up and down.

The Wheel and Axle

On the wheels of a wheelbarrow are fulcrums; which consist of smaller, cylindrical axle at the center. The function of the axle and the wheel is to enhance movement without friction. One can therefore easily push and pull the wheelbarrow with a lot of ease. The wheel and axle are designed in a way that they correspond to the total force that is applied to the axle. The design also takes into account the distance covered by the wheelbarrow.

When one pushes or pulls the wheelbarrow, the axle is therefore designed to perform ten times more work, and at the same time travel one-tenth of the distance. On the other hand, when the wheel turns, it is designed to cover ten times more ground than the axle at the center and requires one-tenth of effort.

Inclined Plane

A wheelbarrow is only considered to consist of an inclined plane when its head is tipped on one side or ahead. The working of an inclined plane is a rather simple one, and it works best when the head is tipped downward during a push and then the material inside slide into the ground.

Maintaining Your Wheelbarrow

A wheelbarrow is a compound machine made up of simple machines and makes work easier. It is, therefore, crucial for one to take into account the maintenance required for a wheelbarrow. You should, for instance, make sure that the wheelbarrow is greased and that it does not make work even more difficult because of friction.


So, how does a wheelbarrow work? We all know that it is used to push and carry things from one place to another, but there are also technicalities when it comes to wheelbarrow as well. There are three components to a wheelbarrow: levers, the wheel and axle, and the inclined plane. These components work together to make your work easier when you’re gardening, landscaping, or even working in construction.