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Glossary

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Clutch A Clutch is a mechanical or electro-mechanical device used for motion/torque transfer and motion inhibition (braking).
Counterbalance Counterbalance is a force which negates another undesirable force. Often, counterbalance is used to neutralize the weight of a heavy object (lift assist). Counterbalance can be combined with dampers or a friction component to provide rate control and moderate holding forces respectively. 
Damper A damper is a mechanism which resists motion in a manner proportional to velocity. When the mechanism is at rest, there is no holding force; because of this, they should not be used to control a mechanism's position. Instead, they should be used to limit the rate of motion such as preventing lid from slamming under the force of gravity (soft-close).
Damping Damping is an influence on a mechanism which will resist motion in a manner proportional to velocity. This effect is often produced by fluids flowing through or around an obstacle.
Detent Positioning A detent inclines the position of a mechanism to specific locations. Detents may be placed at the limits of a mechanism’s range or may be arranged in increments within the range of motion. These provide tactile feedback that a mechanism is aligned with predefined positions. Detents typically provide much less holding force than position locks but are not required to be disengaged before being adjusted.
Flex Arm Flex arms are engineered, goose-neck arms with an array of options: diameters, lengths, thread types, colors, connectors, fittings, bases. Flex arms can be used for product display, task lighting, surgical equipment and many other applications.
Force Force is an influence on an object which causes a change to its rate of motion and/or direction. Forces are defined by both their magnitude and their direction. Their magnitude is measured in newtons (N), pounds (lb, lbf), or infrequently kilogram force (kgf). Forces used to counteract the force of gravity are also referred to as counterbalances.
Free-stop Positioning Free-stop positioning means a mechanism will allow for continuous adjustment of a given lid, door, arm or other moving component attached to a main body. Common examples include the screen of a laptop or a rear-view mirror both of which will stop in any position and can be freely repositioned.
Friction

Friction is a force which resists relative motion between two objects in contact. Static friction increased with applied force to prevent relative motion until the maximum static friction is reached and motion begins. Kinetic friction occurs between two objects in relative motion and is typically less than the maximum static friction. Rotational friction (friction torque) occurs between two cylindrically mating components and is described in units of torque. This forms the basis of friction hinges which are sometimes referred to as torque hinges.

Hinge A hinge connects two objects and allows them to rotate about a single axis. Hinges may be engineered with additional functions such as counterbalance, damping, or friction.
Latch A latch is a mechanisms which joins two objects temporarily. They are often used on doors to prevent opening until a user intervenes.
Lift-assist Lift-assist is the application of a counterbalance mechanism to negate the weight of an object. A lift-assist mechanism can allow heavy objects to be moved with ease. 
Magnet A magnet is an object that produced a static magnetic field which is capable of attracting ferromagnetic materials (such as iron), as well as attracting and repelling other magnets. See Polymagnet
Mass Mass is a fundamental property of and object which describes its resistance to being accelerated. By contrast, weight is the force an object with mass exerts towards Earth under the effect of gravity. The SI unit for mass is the kilogram (kg). In the United States, the pound (lb) is used to describe both force and mass. Where these two meanings can be confused, the units of pound-mass (lbm or lbm) and pound-force (lbf or lbf) should be utilized.
Mount A mount attaches a device (typically a small display) to a main body. Often, they permit adjustment of both the pan and tilt of the device.
Polymagnet A polymagnet is magnet whose surface is encoded with patterns of small north and south poles, called maxels, to produce advanced behaviors. The pattern or maxels can be designed to improve magnetic coupling, transmit torque, or other advanced functions.
Position Locking Device A position lock arrests the motion of a mechanism. There may be a discrete number of locking positions or continuous locking through the range of motion. Unlike detents, position locks must be disengaged to allow motion but typically supply much more holding force.
Reel A reel is a mechanisms which is used to store a flexible object such as an electrical cord or a hose.
Soft-close Soft-close describes a mechanism which uses damping to prevent a mechanism from closing violently or loudly. Soft-close mechanisms are often found in kitchen furniture and is commonplace on the glove boxes and folding grab handles of modern vehicles.
Spring Springs are mechanical components which produce a force when they undergo extension or compression. Typically, springs produce a force that is proportional to the displacement. However, springs can be engineered to produce a variety of force profiles including constant force (flat) profiles useful for counterbalancing.
Stay A stay is a mechanism to support a lid or hatch. They often combine a variety of functions such as damping (soft-close) and counterbalance (lift-assist). 
Torque Torque is the influence of a force some distance from a pivot point which causes an object change its rate of rotation. The lever arm is the distance from the pivot point to where the force is applied. The amount of torque at the pivot point depends both on the portion of the force applied perpendicular to the lever arm and the length of the lever arm. Some common units of torque include lbs*in, N*m, and kgf*cm.
Weight Weight is the force that an object with mass exerts towards Earth under the effect of gravity. Since the strength of gravity varies around the globe and with altitude, so will an object's weight. Weight is a force and consequently is described with the units newtons (N) or pounds (lb, lbf).

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