A wedge is one of the six simple machines. It is characterized by an object that has a defined width at one side that slopes to a point at the other end. This simple machines allows a force that is applied over a large area to be concentrated upon an edge or smaller area, such as a knife. This concentration of force is the mechanical advantage (MA) the wedge provides. Each of the six simple machines offers a mechanical advantage, and it can be quickly calculated for a wedge.

Find the length of the sloped surface of the wedge. For a real-world object, this can be found in by measuring with a tape measure or ruler. In the case of a math problem, this value is sometimes given. If it is not, it can be calculated using the Pythagorean Theorem (a^2)+(b^2)=(c^2) or the law of cosines (cos(a)/A)=(cos(b)/B)=(cos(c)/C)

Find the width of the large end of the wedge. This too can be found either by direct measurement or by mathematical calculation.

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Divide the slope length by the width of the wedge to find the mechanical advantage. MA=(Slope Length)/(Width)

#### Tip

Make sure that all lengths are in the same unit of measure.