The True Definition of “Torque”

torque explainedIf you’ve ever had work done on your car or even picked up a wrench, then chances are good you’ve heard the word torque before. Despite the fact that it’s a mechanical buzzword, few people actually understand what torque actually is, let alone why it’s such an important force in our world. Torque is simply that, it’s a force similar to our understanding of push and pull. Torque is the force of “twisting” an object, whether it be a lug nut on your tire or a bolt holding a frame together. In our modern world, torque is one of the forces that, in a manner of speaking, holds our universe together.

How Does it Work?

When looking at torque as a force (without getting into the gritty bits of the physics equation) let’s look at a wrench. The head of the wrench connects to the head of the bolt and then we apply force to the handle. The force generated by pushing or pulling on the handle of the wrench creates an equal amount of force around the bolt, i.e torque. It’s the force of torque that tightens or loosens the bolt. The length of your lever arm (in this case the handle of the wrench) directly impacts the amount of torque being applied, the longer the arm, the easier it is to generate torque. This is especially useful when you have to deal with rusted nuts and bolts. Extra leverage lowers the amount of force required while still generating torque. Understanding this helps to prevent injury which, as anyone who’s ever had a wrench slip will tell you, is a good thing.

Why Do We need to Measure Torque?

With the exception of figuring out horsepower in your car, measuring torque in other areas can also be very important. While most people have take a heavy handed approach to practically weld nuts and bolts together with a wrench, sometimes it requires a more delicate touch. When you’re working with sensitive components for example, over torquing not only runs the risk of damaging the parts you’re attempting to assemble, but can also cause snaps and breakages, which can ruin the entire piece all together. When you’re assembling fragile components, you need just the right amount of torque, not too tight and not too loose.

When it comes to measurements, force or otherwise, it’s important to work with a company that fully understands the physics behind it, especially when you’re working with components where being heavy handed does more damage than good. Garber Metrology specializes in the understanding of the forces around us. Whether it be torque, weight, or other sensitive calibrations, Garber can help you understand exactly what force you need, without the need for a background in physics.