One can classify tools according to their basic functions:
- Cutting tools, such as the knife, scythe or sickle, are wedge-shaped implements that produce a shearing force along a narrow face. Ideally, the edge of the tool needs to be harder than the material being cut or else the blade will become dulled with repeated use. But even resilient tools will require periodic sharpening, which is the process of removing deformation wear from the edge. Other examples of cutting tools include gouges and drill bits.
- Moving tools move large and tiny items. Most are levers which give the user a mechanical advantage. For example, concentrating-force tools: the hammer moves a nail, the maul moves a stake, or a whip moves flesh on a horse. These operate by applying physical compression to a surface. In the case of the screwdriver, the force is rotational and called torque. Writing implements deliver a fluid to a surface via compression to activate the ink cartridge. Also grabbing and twisting nuts and bolts with pliers, a glove, a wrench, etc. All these tools move items by some kind of force. Also trucks, rockets and airplanes move larger items and particle accelerators move very small items.
- Tools that enact chemical changes, including temperature and ignition, such as lighters and blowtorches.
- Guiding, measuring and perception tools include the ruler, glasses, set square, sensors, straightedge, theodolite, microscope, monitor, clock, phone, printer
- Shaping tools, such as molds, jigs, trowels.
- Fastening tools, such as welders, rivet guns, nail guns, or glue guns.
- Information and data manipulation tools, such as computers, middleware, IDE, spreadsheets
Some tools may be combinations of other tools. An alarm-clock is for example a combination of a measuring tool (the clock) and a perception tool (the alarm). This enables the alarm-clock to be a tool that falls outside of all the categories mentioned above.
There is some debate on whether to consider protective gear items as tools, because they do not directly help perform work, just protect the worker like ordinary clothing. They do meet the general definition of tools and in many cases are necessary for the completion of the work. Personal protective equipment includes such items as gloves, safety glasses, ear defenders and biohazard suits.
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Famous quotes containing the word functions:
“One of the most highly valued functions of used parents these days is to be the villains of their childrens lives, the people the child blames for any shortcomings or disappointments. But if your identity comes from your parents failings, then you remain forever a member of the child generation, stuck and unable to move on to an adulthood in which you identify yourself in terms of what you do, not what has been done to you.”
—Frank Pittman (20th century)
“Adolescents, for all their self-involvement, are emerging from the self-centeredness of childhood. Their perception of other people has more depth. They are better equipped at appreciating others reasons for action, or the basis of others emotions. But this maturity functions in a piecemeal fashion. They show more understanding of their friends, but not of their teachers.”
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“Those things which now most engage the attention of men, as politics and the daily routine, are, it is true, vital functions of human society, but should be unconsciously performed, like the corresponding functions of the physical body.”
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