CenterofMass - CENTER OF MASS The motion of a system may...

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1 CENTER OF MASS The motion of a system may appear to be quite difficult to describe because different particles making up the system will have different position, velocity, and acceleration. However, as we will see, it is not difficult to describe the motion of a system if we consider the motion of a special point called the center of mass. Two questions immediately arise: (1) What do we mean by the center of mass? and (2) How do we find the center of mass for a system?. The answer to the first question is given below. We will prove it later by applying N2L to the system The center of mass of a body or a system of particles is: a) the point that moves as though all the mass was concentrated at that point and b) the resultant external force was applied at that point. That is, the system or body moves as if the resultant external force was applied to a single particle of mass M located at the center of mass. We can also think of center of mass as the average position of the system’s mass or a weighted-mass average of the system’s mass.
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CenterofMass - CENTER OF MASS The motion of a system may...

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