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In mechanics, the measure of the effectiveness with which a system performs. It is stated as the ratio of a system's work output to its work input. The efficiency of a real system is always less than 1 because of friction between moving parts. A machine with an efficiency of 0.8 returns 80% of the work input as work output; the remaining 20% is used to overcome friction. In a theoretically frictionless, or ideal, machine, the work input and work output are equal, and the efficiency would be 1, or 100%.
Variants of EFFICIENCY
efficiency or mechanical efficiency
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on efficiency, visit Britannica.com.