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Unformatted text preview: Torque, Center of Mass, and Moment Here’s an attempt to explain what center of mass is. We need a little bit of physics. 4 10 6 Suppose we have a 6foot board with a 10pound bag of flour on it. If we put a pivot under the board, the flour will create a torque on the board. Torque is like force, but it tends to rotate things instead of moving them in a straight line. The torque generated by the flour is T = r × F where F is the force that gravity exerts on the flour (i.e., 10 lb), and r is the distance from the pivot to the bag. So if the pivot is in the middle of the board ( x = 3 ft) and the flour is a foot to the right ( x = 4 ft) then the torque is (4 ft 3 ft) × 10 lb = 10 ft · lb . The greater a torque is, the more the board will tend to rotate. This explains how a wrench works: you put a long wrench on a stuck bolt and push, and you generate a torque which is greater (because of the length of the wrench) than if you just tried to turn the bolt with your hand. The board above will tend to rotate clockwise. If, instead of the flour on the right, we put a 10 pound block of ice to the left of the pivot at x = 2, like this: 2 10 6 then the board will tend to rotate counterclockwise. To keep the two cases straight, we’ll say that the flour was generating a torque of +10 ft · lb and the ice is generating a torque of 10 ft · lb. Positive torque means clockwise, negative means counterclockwise. We can keep our simple formula “ T = r × F ” by making r negative when the weight is to the left of the...
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This note was uploaded on 01/28/2012 for the course MATH 146 taught by Professor Conger during the Winter '08 term at University of Michigan.
 Winter '08
 Conger

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