Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Is every mechanical process or mechanical reversible?

  1. Mar 17, 2008 #1
    Is evry mechanical process or mechanism reversiible?
    By that i mean to say, Can we carry out every mechanism or process in reverse?

    for eg: if i have a mechanism which converts rotary motion to oscillatory, can i use the same mechanism for changing the oscillatory motion to rotary, without making any modification in the mechanism?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 18, 2008 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Welcome to PF.
    The short answer is 'no'.
    The simplest example might be a worm drive. That would be the same as a lead-screw (screw jack in some terminologies). It is absolutely not reversible. That's why they're used for things like automotive jacks.
  4. Mar 18, 2008 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I can think of MANY mechanisms off the top of my head which can't be run in reverse. I can also think of many mechnisms which are very efficient in one direction, and very inefficient in the opposite direction.
  5. Mar 19, 2008 #4
    at least when i think of friction, i must say most of the mechanical processes are not reversible. One lose mechanical energy during the process. Perhaps... you are trying to mean... something else?
  6. Mar 19, 2008 #5
    A falling brick is a mechanical system! Almost any process has a preferred direction and thermodynamically speaking there is no such thing as a reversible process in real life.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Is every mechanical process or mechanical reversible?
  1. Launching Mechanism (Replies: 2)

  2. Mechanism Help? (Replies: 1)