Systems of Particles, Linear momentum

The center of mass is the point at which all the mass can be considered to be “concentrated” for the purpose of calculating the “first moment”, i.e., mass times distance. For two masses this distance is calculated from.

The center of mass of a distribution of mass in space is the unique point where the weighted relative position of the distributed mass sums to zero or the point where if a force is applied causes it to move in direction of force without rotation. The distribution of mass is balanced around the center of mass and the average of the weighted position coordinates of the distributed mass defines its coordinates. Calculations in mechanics are often simplified when formulated with respect to the center of mass.

Topical Notes, Topical Notes, Problems, Presentations, Quiz, Test, Investigations, and Videos  
Center of mass
Impulse and momentum
Conservation of linear momentum, Collisions             
                                                        Test your Understanding: Chapter 4 MCQ Quiz 1 Here                                                    Take Chapter 4 ReQuiz MCQ Quiz 2 Here

The concept of “center of mass” in the form of the “center of gravity” was first introduced by the ancient Greek physicist, mathematician, and engineer Archimedes of Syracuse. He worked with simplified assumptions about gravity that amount to a uniform field, thus arriving at the mathematical properties of what we now call the center of mass. Archimedes showed that the torque exerted on a lever by weights resting at various points along the lever is the same as what it would be if all of the weights were moved to a single point—their center of mass. In work on floating bodies he demonstrated that the orientation of a floating object is the one that makes its center of mass as low as possible. He developed mathematical techniques for finding the centers of mass of objects of uniform density of various well-defined shapes.


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