A hair clipper (often individually known by the apparent plural hair clippers in a similar way to scissors) is a specialised implement used to cut human head hair. They work on the same principle as scissors, but are distinct from scissors themselves and razors. Similar but heavier-duty implements are used to shear sheep, but are called handpieces or machine shears.
Hair clippers comprise a pair of sharpened comb-like blades in close contact one above the other and the side which slide sideways relative to each other, a mechanism which may be manual or electrical to make the blades oscillate from side to side, and a handle. The clipper is moved so that hair is positioned between the teeth of the comb, and cut with a scissor action when one blade slides sideways relative to the other. Friction between the blades needs to be as low as possible, which is attained by choice of material and finish, and frequent lubrication.
Blades are usually made of rust-resistant stainless steel. Ceramic cutters are available; they are not subject to corrosion, and stay sharper longer because of a higher resistance to wear than metal blades. They remain cool to the touch even with fairly prolonged use, as ceramic is a poor heat conductor. However, ceramic blades are brittle and easily broken, and more expensive to replace than metal blades.
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