10 Examples of Compound Machines in the Kitchen


Compound machines are complex systems made of multiple simple machines working together to perform tasks. They leverage the combined mechanical advantages of various components to accomplish specific functions or actions.


Machines can be either simple or compound.

Simple Machines

Simple machines are machines in their simplest forms. They work through the application of a single force to move a single load. These are the building blocks for more complex machines.

Some examples of simple machines include levers, inclines planes, screws, wedges, wheel and axle, and the pulley.

Compound Machines

These machines are what many people think about when they hear the term ‘machine’. They are made by combining two or more simple machines. The simple machines work together to achieve a specific purpose.

Combining simple machines to form a compound machine provides a greater mechanical advantage than if you were to use a simple machine to perform the same task.

Examples of compound machines in the kitchen

1. Corkscrew

Corkscrews are used to open corked bottles such as wine bottles.

The corkscrew combines two simple machines: levers and screws.

It works by rotating the top of the corkscrew. The screw twists down into the cork.

 You then push down on the two levers to secure the cork and pull up upward to dislodge the cork.

2. Juicer

There’s nothing quite as refreshing as a fresh glass of juice. A juicer makes it easy to extract juice from fruits and vegetables.

This compound machine includes a plunger that is used to press the fruits and vegetables down into the juicing chamber.

The screw blades grind up the vegetables and fruits. These blades have a wedged edge that enables them to slice through solids.

 The blade features a screw-like design that mixes solids to ensure even grinding.

3. Pizza cutter

A pizza cutter combines three simple machines. The handle is a lever to which you apply force and use to push the wheel when cutting the pizza.

 The pizza cutter wheel is a wheel and axle which moves in a circular motion.

 The cutter wheel has a wedged edge (the blade) that enables you to cut through the pizza.

4. Can opener

Fancy some canned beans? You’ll need to grab that can opener to cut the top of the can out and get to your beans.

Can openers have a basic lever construction whereby you place the effort on the handle to push down on the cutter.

You turn the screw to move the cutter. The cutting blade is a wheel and axle with a wedge tip.

5. Egg beater

Need to whisk some eggs in a hurry? An egg beater will save you a lot of time and energy.

This compound machine works by cranking up a handle that is connected to a double-sided wheel.

The wheels rotate gears which in turn rotate the beaters.

6. Scissors

A pair of kitchen scissors is handy for cutting meat, vegetables, and other ingredients.

Kitchen scissors are compound machines that consist of two types of simple machines: levers and wedges.

The blades of the scissors are wedges that enable you to cut through solids.

The two handles of the scissor are first-class levers. You apply force to the handles. The arms of the scissors move about the pivot and the force is transferred to the load.

Related Post: 15 First Class Lever Examples

7. Exhaust fan

Many kitchens feature an exhaust fan that is used to remove humid and hot air that results from cooking.

An exhaust fan is an example of a compound machine. It features wedge-shaped blades which are arranged to move air as they rotate.

The rotation is the result of the movement of the fan’s hub. This acts as an axle and the fans act as a wheel. The hub turns and the fan blades rotate along with it.

8. Mechanical kitchen scales

Mechanical kitchen scales are a common kitchen gadget. They are used to weigh ingredients when preparing meals.

They feature spring and a lever. The spring is compressed and moves a lever that moves the indicator along the measurement scale to give the weight of the item being weighed.

9. Salad spinners

A salad spinner saves you time and energy when you need to prepare a fresh salad for a meal.

 It consists of a screw within a shaft that sticks out of the top. When you push down on the shaft, the screw is pushed down into the threaded hole.

As the screw passes through this hole it causes the shaft to spin. The shaft acts as an axle that spins the basket which acts as a wheel.

10. Coffee grinders

Coffee grinders are a must-have if having a good cup of coffee is part of your daily routine.

 Coffee grinders allow you to grind coffee beans and achieve a better flavor with your coffee.

These devices consist of a wheel and axle that you turn using a handle.

Inside the coffee grinder is a screw-shaped blade that grinds the coffee beans. The blade features a wedge that cuts the beans into small pieces.

Parting Thoughts

We rely on many compound machines to carry out different tasks in the kitchen.

These machines help to make work easy. They provide convenience and save time. They also help to improve safety while preparing a meal.

They feature two or more simple machines. Can you find more compound machines in your kitchen?


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