Archimedes Screw - History of Archimedes Screw

Archimedes Screw

The Archimedes screw is a machine that can raise water with much less effort than lifting buckets. It was invented by the Greek scientist Archimedes, though the year is not known. Archimedes lived in Syracuse, Sicily (now part of Italy) between the years 287 B.C. and 212 B.C. The Archimedes screw is an ancient invention that continues to be important in the modern world.

This tool had many historical uses. It was used to empty water out of leaking ships and flooded mines. Fields of crops were watered by using the screw to pull water from lakes and rivers. It was also used to reclaim flooded land, for instance in Holland where much of the land lies below sea level.

  • There are a few different designs of the Archimedes screw, but the key feature is the angled spiral around a center shaft (the typical screw shape). The screw can sit in a half pipe (trough) or a full pipe.
  • To use the Archimedes screw to lift water, the pipe must sit on an angle with one end in a body of water. Then, the screw must be turned with a hand crank or motor. As the bottom of the screw turns, it will scoop up water. The shape of the screw will trap it, the water will be carried up to the top of the pipe, and it spill out.
  • Today, there are many other uses for the Archimedes screw. Things like grain, sand, and sawdust flow in a similar way to water, and so the Archimedes screw can be used to move them as well.
  • Archimedes screws appear in many unexpected places. Power drills, snow blowers, augers, crop harvesters, and many other machines operate using the principle of movement of these devices.

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