The Simple Motion Multiplier 1
STEM ED/CHM Nanotechnology at UMass Amherst
The Motion Multiplier Machine
Your challenge is to build a machine that causes a point of light to move a large
distance when one part of the machine moves a short distance. That machine can
then be used to construct a map of the surface of an object.
Safety Alert! You will be using a laser pointer in this activity. Never let the laser light to strike anyone’s eyes or any part of their bodies.
Hammers and Oars: An Introduction to Levers
A hammer is an example of a simple machine called a “class
one” lever. When you use a hammer to pull a nail out of a
piece of wood the distance from your hand to the fulcrum is
greater than the distance from the fulcrum to the nail.
When you use a hammer to pull a nail out of a piece of
wood, you can pull on the handle with a small amount of force.
The claw end of the hammer applies a larger amount of force
to the nail. But, because the nail moves a small distance and
your hand moves a large distance, the hammer does not
multiply the amount of work that you do.
Levers don’t always multiply a force that you apply. The oar of a row boat is an example of a
“class one” lever that can multiply motion.
In many rowboats, the distance from a rower’s
hand to the fulcrum is less than the distance from
the blade of the oar to the fulcrum. As a result,
the force that the blade applies to the water is less
than the force applied to the other end of the oar by a rower. Because the blade of the oar moves a greater distance than a rower’s hand, the oar does
not decrease the amount of work that is done
Question 1: Why would a person rowing a boat want the blade end of the oar to move a greater distance than a hand that pulls on the other end of the oar?
Models of Atomic Force Microscopes 2
Build a Machine that Multiplies Motion
The meterstick assembly shown above is balanced. A laser pointer is attached to the longer lever arm. A mass is suspended from a mass holder somewhere on the shorter lever arm. The entire assembly is balanced on a support by a knife edge clamp that sits on the vertical support. The support is the fulcrum for the lever.
Assemble a Motion Multiplier Lever
; Put the meterstick support on a level surface.
; Put the knife edge clamp on the meterstick so that the lever arms are of
; Use tape to attach the laser pointer to the longer lever arm. Do not turn on
the laser pointer yet.
; Put the mass hanger somewhere on the shorter lever arm.
; Mount the meterstick assembly on the support.
; Adjust the meterstick assembly so that the laser pointer will point in the
direction of a wall so that the beam of light will not be aimed at a person. Do
not yet turn on the laser pointer.
; Experiment with the mass of objects that hang from the mass hanger on the
shorter lever arm and the position of the mass hanger to balance the motion
; You may find that the motion multiplier will not balance perfectly. In that
case, you may need to have one person in your group gently hold one end of
the model as you attach a “probe”.
Attach a “”probe”.
You will need to attach a “probe” to the shorter lever arm of your motion multiplier.
Use tape to attach a pencil to the shorter lever arm. Adjust the position of the hanging mass so that the meterstick assembly is balanced. The eraser end of the pencil should be at the bottom of the “probe”. You may still need to hold one
end of the model if the assembly does not balance perfectly.
Models of Atomic Force Microscopes 3
Your motion multiplier can be used to map the surface of an object as that object slowly moves under the lower end of the “probe”. The changes in the
surface of the object will cause the probe to move up and down. The beam of light produced by the laser pointer will cause a point of light to move up and down on a wall.
There are two design issues to consider when using your motion multiplier.
; Can the probe stay in contact with the surface of the object as the object
; Can you keep the motion multiplier stable as the object causes the probe to
move up and down?
Collecting Data with your Motion Multiplier
Develop a Strategy
Your team needs to develop a strategy for collecting the following data so that a profile of an object can be constructed.
; The distance the point of light moves up and down on a vertical surface (a
wall, a poster, etc.).
; The distance the probe moves up and down each time the object moves a
specified horizontal distance.
; Design a data table to record data.
Collect and Record Data
Once your team has developed a strategy for collecting and recording data you can begin collecting and recording data.
; Turn on the laser pointer and begin collecting and recording the sets of
An Important Reminder: Be sure that the beam of light will reach a wall and will not come into contact with any person in the room.
; Turn off the laser pointer when you are finished collecting data.
Models of Atomic Force Microscopes 4
Calculate the Motion Multiplier Effect
Develop a strategy to calculate how much the motion of the probe was multiplied.
Question 2: What is your mathematical value for the motion multiplier effect?
Question 3: What factors influenced the mathematical value for the motion multiplier effect?
Question 4: How con you increase how much the motion of the probe is multiplied?
Draw a Profile.
Use the data you have collected to construct a profile of the length or width of the object on a sheet of paper.
Evaluate the Performance of Your Motion Multiplier
Question 5: How can you improve the performance of your motion multiplier?