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Encyclopedia > Wheel
Three wheels on an antique tricycle.
Three wheels on an antique tricycle.

A wheel is a circular device that is capable of rotating on its axis, facilitating movement or transportation or performing labour in machines. A wheel together with an axle overcomes friction by facilitating motion by rolling. In order for wheels to rotate a moment needs to be applied to the wheel about its axis, either by way of gravity or by application of another external force. Common examples are found in transport applications. More generally the term is also used for other circular objects that rotate or turn, such as a Ship's wheel and flywheel. Look up wheel in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... An axle is a central shaft for a rotating wheel or gear. ... For other uses, see Friction (disambiguation). ... Rolling is a fabricating process in which the metal, plastic, paper, glass, etc. ... Wheel of the French carrier Clémenceau. ... Spoked flywheel Flywheel from stationary engine. ...



The English word wheel comes from the Proto-Indo-European *kwekwlo-,[1] which was an extended form of the root *kwel- meaning "to revolve, move around". This is also the root of the [[Greek language|Greek] κυκλος kuklos, the Sanskrit chakra, and Persian charkh, all meaning "circle" or "wheel",[2] and also in Lithuanian, sukti means "to rotate". The Latin word rota is from the Proto-Indo-European *rotā-, the extended o-grade form of the root *ret- meaning "to roll, revolve".[3] The Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) is the hypothetical common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans. ... Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... For the Naruto jutsu, see Chakra (Naruto). ... Farsi redirects here. ...


A depiction of onager-drawn carts on the Sumerian "battle standard of Ur" (circa 3200 BC)
A depiction of onager-drawn carts on the Sumerian "battle standard of Ur" (circa 3200 BC)
A spoked wheel on display at The National Museum of Iran, in Tehran. The wheel is dated late 2nd millennium BC and was excavated at Choqa Zanbil.
A spoked wheel on display at The National Museum of Iran, in Tehran. The wheel is dated late 2nd millennium BC and was excavated at Choqa Zanbil.

The wheel most likely originated in ancient Mesopotamia in the 4th millennium BC. The wheel reached ancient India with the Indus Valley Civilization in the 3rd millennium BC[citation needed]. Near the northern side of the Caucasus several graves were found, in which since 3700 BC people had been buried on wagons or carts (both types). The earliest depiction of what may be a wheeled vehicle (here a wagon—four wheels, two axles), is on the Bronocice pot, a ca. 3500 BC clay pot excavated in southern Poland.[4] Image File history File links Emblem-important. ... Image File history File links Standard_of_Ur_chariots. ... Binomial name Equus hemionus Pallas, 1775 The onager (Equus hemionus) is a large mammal belonging to the horse family and native to the deserts of Syria, Iran, Pakistan, India, Israel, and Tibet (China). ... Sumer (or Å umer; Sumerian: KI-EN-GIR [1]) was the earliest known civilization of the ancient Near East, located in lower Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), from the time of the earliest records in the mid 4th millennium BC until the rise of Babylonia in the late 3rd millennium BC. The term... For other uses, see Ur (disambiguation). ... Wheel on display at The National Museum of Iran, at Tehran. ... Wheel on display at The National Museum of Iran, at Tehran. ... Entrance of the National Museum of Iran, the vault is built in the style of Persias Sassanid vaults The National Museum of Iran (in Persian: موزه ایران باستان Muze-ye Irân-e Bâstân) is an archeological and historical museum located in Tehran. ... For other uses, see Tehran (disambiguation). ... A model of the current Chogha Zanbil ziggurat, showing the other buildings in the vicinity of the main structure. ... Mesopotamia was a cradle of civilization geographically located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq. ... Excavated ruins of Mohenjo-daro. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Caucasus Mountains. ... For other uses, see Wagon (disambiguation). ... A cart is a vehicle or device, using two wheels and normally one horse, designed for transport. ... The Bronocice pot is a ceramic pot incised with the earliest known image of a wheeled vehicle. ...

The wheel reached Europe and India (the Indus Valley civilization) in the 4th millennium BC. In China, the wheel is certainly present with the adoption of the chariot in ca. 1200 BC, and Barbieri-Low (2000) argues for earlier Chinese wheeled vehicles, circa 2000 BC. It is an open question whether there was an independent "invention of the wheel" in Adam Volk. Alternatively the concept may have made its way there after jumping the Himalayan barrier. It has even been suggested that the introduction of the wheel into China was through Chariot wielding conquerors, possibly connected to inception of the Shang Dynasty (ca. 1700 BC)[5]. For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... Excavated ruins of Mohenjo-daro. ... For other uses, see Chariot (disambiguation). ... For the movie Himalaya, see Himalaya (film). ... For other uses, see Chariot (disambiguation). ...

Although they did not develop the wheel proper, the Olmec and certain other western hemisphere cultures seem to have approached it, as wheel-like worked stones have been found on objects identified as children's toys dating to about 1500 BC. Monument 1, one of the four Olmec colossal heads at La Venta. ... The geographical western hemisphere of Earth, highlighted in yellow. ... The word culture comes from the Latin root colere (to inhabit, to cultivate, or to honor). ... This article is about the geological substance. ... A male Caucasian toddler child A child (plural: children) is a young human. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...

The invention of the wheel thus falls in the late Neolithic and may be seen in conjunction with the other technological advances that gave rise to the early Bronze Age. Note that this implies the passage of several wheel-less millennia even after the invention of agriculture. Looking back even further, it is of some interest that although paleoanthropologists now date the emergence of anatomically modern humans to ca. 150,000 years ago, 143,000 of those years were "wheel-less". That people with capacities fully equal to our own walked the earth for so long before conceiving of the wheel may be initially surprising, but populations were extremely small through most of this period and the wheel, which requires an axle and socket to actually be useful, is not as simple a device as it may seem. Making and balancing a wheel requires a skilled Wheelwright. An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools. ... The Bronze Age is a period in a civilizations development when the most advanced metalworking has developed the techniques of smelting copper from natural outcroppings and alloys it to cast bronze. ... Paleoanthropology, which combines the disciplines of paleontology and physical anthropology, is the study of ancient humans as found in fossil hominid evidence such as petrifacted bones and footprints. ... Skill is a measure of a workers expertise, specialization, wages, and supervisory capacity. ... Wheelwright reenactor New Salem, Illinois Wheelwrights Workshop at the Amberley Working Museum, West Sussex, England A wheelwright is a person who builds or repairs wheels. ...

Early wheels were simple wooden disks with a hole for the axle. Because of the structure of wood a horizontal slice of a trunk is not suitable, as it does not have the structural strength to support weight without collapsing; rounded pieces of longitudinal boards are required. The oldest such wheel, believed to have been made by the Alekern tribe, was found by the Slovenian archaeologist Janez Dirjec in 2002 CE(common era) at the Ljubljana Marshes (Ljubljansko barje), some 20 kilometres southeast of Ljubljana, Slovenia.[6] According to the experts in Vienna, Austria, the specimen was manufactured somewhere between 3350 and 3100 BC and is even older than others of similar construction found in Switzerland and Germany. For other uses, see Wood (disambiguation). ... Location in Slovenia Coordinates: , Country Founded AD 15 (as Colonia Iulia Aemona) Government  - Mayor and governor Zoran Janković (Lista Zorana Jankovića) Area  - Total 275. ... For other uses, see Vienna (disambiguation). ...

The spoked wheel was invented more recently, and allowed the construction of lighter and swifter vehicles. The earliest known examples are in the context of the Andronovo culture, dating to ca 2000 BC. Shortly later, horse cultures of the Caucasus region used horse-drawn spoked-wheel war chariots for the greater part of three centuries. They moved deep into the Greek peninsula where they joined with the existing Mediterranean peoples to give rise, eventually, to classical Greece after the breaking of Minoan dominance and consolidations led by pre-classical Sparta and Athens. Celtic chariots introduced an iron rim around the wheel in the 1st millennium BC. The spoked wheel had been in continued use without major modification until the 1870s CE, when wire wheels and pneumatic tires were invented.[7] A spoke is one of some number of rods radiating from the center of a wheel (the hub where the axle connects), connecting the hub with the round traction surface. ... Map of the approximate maximal extent of the Andronovo culture. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Caucasus Mountains. ... For the torpedo-shaped underwater vehicle ridden by two frogmen, sometimes referred to as a chariot, see Human torpedo. ... The Minoan civilization was a bronze age civilization which arose on Crete, an island in the Aegean Sea. ... For modern day Sparta, see Sparti (municipality). ... This article is about the capital of Greece. ... This article is about the European people. ... General Name, symbol, number iron, Fe, 26 Chemical series transition metals Group, period, block 8, 4, d Appearance lustrous metallic with a grayish tinge Standard atomic weight 55. ...

The invention of the wheel has also been important for technology in general, important applications including the water wheel, the cogwheel (see also antikythera mechanism), the spinning wheel, and the astrolabe or torquetum. More modern descendants of the wheel include the propeller, the jet engine, the flywheel (gyroscope) and the turbine. By the mid 20th century humans had achieved a mastery of technology sufficient to leave the surface of the Earth for the first time and explore space. ... An overshot water wheel standing 42 feet high powers the Old Mill at Berry College in Rome, Georgia A water wheel (also waterwheel, Norse mill, Persian wheel or noria) is a hydropower system; a system for extracting power from a flow of water. ... Spur gears found on a piece of farm equipment. ... The Antikythera mechanism (main fragment). ... A spinning wheel is a device for making thread or yarn from fibrous material such as wool or cotton. ... A 16th century astrolabe. ... The Torquetum or Turquet is a medieval astronomical instrument designed to take and convert measurements made in three sets of coordinates: Horizon, equatorial, and ecliptic. ... For other uses, see Propeller (disambiguation). ... A Pratt and Whitney turbofan engine for the F-15 Eagle is tested at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, USA. The tunnel behind the engine muffles noise and allows exhaust to escape. ... Spoked flywheel Flywheel from stationary engine. ... A gyroscope For other uses, see Gyroscope (disambiguation). ... A Siemens steam turbine with the case opened. ...

Mechanics and function

The wheel is a device that enables efficient movement of an object across a surface where there is a force pressing the object to the surface. Common examples are a cart drawn by a horse, and the rollers on an aircraft flap mechanism.

The wheel is not a machine, and should not be confused with the wheel and axle, one of the simple machines. A driven wheel is a special case, that is a wheel and axle. Note that wheels predate driven wheels by about 6000 years. A pair of metal wheels with bearings fitted to cranked axle. ... This article is about the concept in physics. ... A pair of metal wheels with bearings fitted to cranked axle. ...

Wheels are used in conjunction with axles, either the wheel turns on the axle or the axle turns in the object body. The mechanics are the same in either case.

The low resistance to motion (compared to dragging) is explained as follows (refer to friction): For other uses, see Friction (disambiguation). ...

  • the normal force at the sliding interface is the same.
  • the sliding distance is reduced for a given distance of travel.
  • the coefficient of friction at the interface is usually lower.

Bearings are used to reduce friction at the interface. A bearing is a device to permit constrained relative motion between two parts, typically rotation or linear movement. ...


  • If dragging a 100 kg object for 10 m along a surface with μ = 0.5, the normal force is 981 N and the work done (required energy) is (work=force x distance) 981 × 0.5 × 10 = 4905 joules.
  • Now give the object 4 wheels. The normal force between the 4 wheels and axles is the same (in total) 981 N, assume μ = 0.1, and say the wheel diameter is 1000 mm and axle diameter is 50 mm. So while the object still moves 10 m the sliding frictional surfaces only slide over each other a distance of 0.5 m. The work done is 981 x 0.1 x 0.5 = 49 joules.

Additional energy is lost at the wheel to road interface. This is termed rolling resistance which is predominantly a deformation loss. Kg redirects here. ... This article is about the unit of length. ... Fn represents the normal force. ... For other uses, see Newton (disambiguation). ... In physics, mechanical work is the amount of energy transferred by a force. ... The joule (IPA: or ) (symbol: J) is the SI unit of energy. ... DIAMETER is a computer networking protocol for AAA (Authentication, Authorization and Accounting). ... Rolling resistance, sometimes called rolling friction, is the resistance that occurs when an object (e. ...

Alternatives to wheels

While wheels are used for ground transport very widely, there are alternatives, some of which are suitable for terrain where wheels are ineffective. Alternative methods for ground transport without wheels (wheel-less transport) include:

Electromagnetism is the physics of the electromagnetic field: a field, encompassing all of space, composed of the electric field and the magnetic field. ... Transrapid Shanghai Maglev Train stopping at terminus Longyang Road station Transrapid Shanghai Maglev Train Inside the Shanghai Transrapid maglev Inside the Shanghai Transrapid maglev VIP section Magnetic levitation transport, or maglev, is a form of transportation that suspends, guides and propels vehicles (especially trains) using electromagnetic force. ... A runner may be: In modern drug subcultures, a person who delivers drugs to one who is purchasing them, from the drug dealer. ... Scene from winter nearly anywhere snow may fall on a handy hill—Children at play sledding. ... Cheyenne family using a horse-drawn travois, 1890 A travois (from the French travail, a frame for restraining horses) is a frame used by Native Americans, notably the Plains Indians of North America, to drag loads over land. ... For the band, see Hovercraft (band). ... A young rider at a horse show in Australia. ... A working animal is an animal that is kept by humans and trained to perform tasks. ... Binomial name Equus caballus Linnaeus, 1758 The horse (Equus caballus, sometimes seen as a subspecies of the Wild Horse, Equus ferus caballus) is a large odd-toed ungulate mammal, one of ten modern species of the genus Equus. ... Walking is the main form of animal locomotion on land, distinguished from running and crawling. ... In an extended sense, a leg is any part of an object that supports it off the ground. ... The litter is a class of wheelless vehicles for transport of persons. ... ambulancers using a stretcher (profile) ambulancers using a stretcher (front) Soldiers using a simple stretcher A stretcher is a device used in medical professions to carry casualties or an incapacitated person from one place to another. ... Walker is frequently used for any mobile vehicle that moves on legs rather than wheels or tracks. ... Caterpillar tracks are large (modular) tracks used on tanks, construction equipment and certain other off-road vehicles. ...

Wheels as symbols

The Romani flag.
The Romani flag.
In the Unicode computer standard, the Dharmacakra is called the "Wheel of Dharma" and found in the eight-spoked form. It is represented as U+2638 (☸).
In the Unicode computer standard, the Dharmacakra is called the "Wheel of Dharma" and found in the eight-spoked form. It is represented as U+2638 (☸).

The wheel has also become a strong cultural and spiritual metaphor for a cycle or regular repetition (see chakra, reincarnation, Yin and Yang among others). As such and because of the difficult terrain, wheeled vehicles were forbidden in old Tibet. Image File history File links Roma_flag. ... Image File history File links Roma_flag. ... The Unicode Standard, Version 5. ... The Dharmacakra (Sanskrit) or Dhammacakka (Pāli), Tibetan , Chinese fălún 法轮, Wheel of Dharma is an auspicious Buddhist symbol representing a Buddhas teaching of the path to enlightenment. ... For other uses, see Dharma (disambiguation). ... The word culture, from the Latin colo, -ere, with its root meaning to cultivate, generally refers to patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activity significance. ... For the Naruto jutsu, see Chakra (Naruto). ... This article is about the theological concept. ... Japanese name Kanji: Hiragana: Korean name Hangul: Hanja: Vietnamese name Quốc ngữ: Chữ nôm: Hán tá»±: The Taijitu of Zhou Dun-yi In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ) are generalized descriptions of the antitheses or mutual correlations in human perceptions of phenomena... Tibetan plateau Tibet is situated between the two ancient civilizations of China and India, but the tangled mountain ranges of the Tibetan Plateau and the towering Himalayas serve to distance it from both. ...

The winged wheel is a symbol of progress, seen in many contexts including the coat of arms of Panama and the logo of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Coat of arms of Panama The Panamanian Coat of Arms is a heraldic symbol for the Central American nation of Panama. ... The Ohio State Highway Patrol is the state police agency for the State of Ohio. ...

The introduction of spoked (chariot) wheels in the Middle Bronze Age appear to have carried somewhat of a prestige. The solar wheel appears to have a significance in Bronze Age religion, replacing the earlier concept of a Solar barge with the more "modern" and technologically advanced solar chariot. For other uses, see Chariot (disambiguation). ... ... // The term Neolithic religion summarily refers to hypotheses concerning religious behaviour of the peoples of the Neolithic period and technology, especially in the Levant and Europe. ... Ra in his Solar barge A Solar barge (also Solar bark, Solar boat, Sun boat) is a mythological representation of the Sun riding in a boat. ... A Sun chariot is a mythological representation of the Sun riding in a chariot. ...

The wheel is also the prominent figure on the flag of India. The wheel in this case represents law (dharma). It also appears in the flag of the Romani people, hinting to their nomadic history and their Indian origins. Indian National Flag Flag ratio: 2:3 The National Flag of India was adopted in its present form during an ad hoc meeting of the Constituent Assembly held on the 22 July 1947, a few days before Indias independence from the British on 15 August, 1947. ... For other uses, see Dharma (disambiguation). ... Roma flag The Romani flag (O styago le romengo in Romani) is the international flag of the Romani people. ...

In recent times, the custom aftermarket carwheel has become a status symbol. These wheels are often incorrectly referred to as "rims." The term "rim" is incorrect because the rim is only a portion of a wheel, just as with a coffee cup or meteor crater. These "rims" have a great deal of variation, and are often very shiny. Some custom "rims" include a bearing-mounted, free-spinning disc which continues to rotate by inertia after the automobile is stopped. In slang, these are referred to as "Spinners". Tailoring specifically to an individual. ... Aftermarket is an umbrella term for the collective network of vendors who design and sell vehicular components that are intended to replace the stock manufacturers parts in order to alter the appearance or performance of the vehicle. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is about inertia as it applies to local motion. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...

See also

Look up wheel in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Wiktionary (a portmanteau of wiki and dictionary) is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in over 151 languages. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The artillery wheel was developed for use on gun carriages when it was found that the lateral forces involved in horse artillery manoeuvres caused normally-constructed cart wheels to collapse. ... An axle is a central shaft for a rotating wheel or gear. ... “Wheelset” redirects here. ... This article is about the tricycle. ... The breaking at the wheel) was a form of punishment used during the english civil war. ... For other uses, see Torture (disambiguation). ... See also: Caster (Fate Stay Night), an anime character Casters on a desk chair. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Deflation is a decrease in the general price level, over a period of time. ... On a steam locomotive, a driving wheel is a powered wheel which is driven by the locomotives pistons (or turbine, in the case of a steam turbine locomotive). ... A Ferris wheel on the boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey, USA. A Ferris wheel (or, more commonly in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland [UK], big wheel) is a nonbuilding structure consisting of an upright wheel with passenger gondolas suspended from the rim. ... A reflective hubcap A hubcap or wheel cover is a decorative disk on an automobile wheel that covers at least a central portion of the wheel. ... This article is about magnetic levitation. ... A driving wheel on a steam locomotive. ... Mecanum wheel Mecanum wheelchair The Mecanum wheel is a wheel which can move in any direction. ... Reinventing the wheel is a phrase that means a generally accepted technique or solution is ignored in favor of a locally invented solution. ... Rolling friction is the friction that occurs when an object (e. ... Wheel of the French carrier Clémenceau. ... This article is about the concept in physics. ... A literal square wheel is a wheel that, instead of being circular, has the shape of a square. ... A modern road cars steering wheel Steering wheels from different periods A steering wheel is a type of steering control used in most modern land vehicles, including all mass-production automobiles. ... Firestone tire This article is about pneumatic tires. ... Promotional photo of the Tweel The Tweel in action For other uses, see Tweel (disambiguation). ... The wagon-wheel effect, (alternatively, waggon-wheel effect, stagecoach-wheel effect, stroboscopic effect) is an optical illusion in which a spoked wheel appears to rotate differently from its true rotation. ... A pair of metal wheels with bearings fitted to cranked axle. ... In order to size a wheel for an automobile, an owner needs to know a few fundamental things: The bolt pattern The diameter of the bolt circle The offset The size of the wheel The centerbore // Bolt pattern The bolt pattern is merely the number of bolts on the wheel. ... Wire wheels, (wire spoked wheels), today are still used on many motorcycles and most bicycles. ... Wheel of Fortune may refer to: Wheel of Fortune (US game show), the US nighttime version. ... A Bettendorf-style boogie displayed at the Illinois Railway Museum. ... A number of animals have evolved so as to be able to travel over the ground. ...

Gallery of images


Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
  1. ^ "wheel". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  2. ^ kwel-1. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  3. ^ ret- The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  4. ^ Waza z Bronocic (in Polish)
  5. ^ Dyer, Gwynne, War: the new edition, p. 159: Vintage Canada Edition, Randomhouse of Canada, Toronto, ON
  6. ^ slonews.sta.si - Marshes yield world's oldest wheel
  7. ^ bookrags.com - Wheel and axle
Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... Image File history File links Commons-logo. ...

  Results from FactBites:
The Falkirk Wheel | Welcome to The Falkirk Wheel | Falkirk, Wheel, Canal, Boat, Which (357 words)
The Falkirk Wheel is an exceptional feat of modern engineering and is already being recognised as an inspirational sculpture for the 21st Century.
Designed to reconnect the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal and sited in a natural open amphitheatre at Rough Castle near Falkirk, this remarkable and elegant mechanical marvel is the only rotating boatlift in the world and truly one of a kind.
The Falkirk Wheel can carry eight or more boats at a time with a single trip taking about 60 minutes and providing an unforgettable experience and great 'day out' for all the family.
Exploratorium: Science Snacks: Bicycle Wheel Gyro (656 words)
A rotating bicycle wheel has angular momentum, which is a property involving the speed of rotation, the mass of the wheel, and how the mass is distributed.
For example, most of a bicycle wheel's mass is concentrated along the wheel's rim, rather than at the center, and this causes a larger angular momentum at a given speed.
Unfortunately, the gyroscopic precession of the wheel hanging from the rope is not explainable in as straightforward a manner as the rotating stool effect.
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