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Finding the moments in Three Dimensional cases Let us consider the picture below for determining the moments

Az Axis

Z axis Ax Axis Az


Ay Ay Axis By

Bx 300

Ty W T Tx

X Axis

Y Axis

Suppose we have to calculate the moments about point A in 3 D . There are two ways calculating the moments a) Vector method b) Scalar method

Vector Method : In the vector method we calculate the position vector for line of action of each force and find the cross product of each position vector with the corresponding force vector. Then we sum all the cross products to get resultant moment.

MA = rAB x B

rAD x T

rAG x W

The resultant moment can be written in the form

MA = MAx i+ MAy j + MAz k

The magnitude of the moment about point A in 3D is therefore given by the equation

MA = MAz are sum of moments of all forces about

axis Ax ,Ay

Where MAx , MAy and and Az respectively

In order to use Vector Method it is essential that we are able to calculate the position vectors and force vectors easily for all forces . Please note for equilibrium of a system the vector equation is This is equivalent to 3 scalar equations

MA = 0

MAx=0 , MAy=0 and MAz=0

Scalar Method : In order to calculate the moment about a point A in the scalar method , we calculate the moment of forces about each of the three axis passing through point A. Then the magnitude

MA is calculated


square root formula. Scalar method steps for calculation are as below: 1. First identify the axis Ax , Ay and Az and draw with dotted line . It should be carefully noted that the Ax, Ay and Az axes are parallel to coordinate system axes x,y and z . If A point is at origin, then Ax, Ay and Az are x,y and z axes themselves. 2. Consider Ax axis for moments .

All the forces which are applied at point A will have zero moment due to zero perpendicular distance between Ax axis and the force. All the forces which are parallel to Ax direction will have zero moment because forces cannot create rotation about a parallel axis. All the forces whose line of action passes through Ax axis will have zero moment due to zero perpendicular distance between Ax axis and the force. For all the other forces which are not covered in above three points determine the perpendicular distance between the axis Ax and the line of action of the force . In many cases the determination of perpendicular distance is not easy if the force is either in 2 dimensions or 3 Dimensions i.e. it is not in the direction of any single coordinate axis ( x only , y only or z only direction). In such forces resolve the force into components along x and y direction if the force is in xy plane : into x and z components if the force is in xz plane : into y and z components if force is in yz plane : into x,y and z components if the force is in space. Now determine the perpendicular distance of components of forces in y and z direction only , since x direction forces will not have any moments about Ax -they being parallel to Ax axis. Also be careful in noting the fact that some of these components may be passing through the Ax axes after resolving . Such componenets will also have zero moment about Ax. Now calculate the moment of each of such forces by multiplying the magnitude of force with the perpendicular distance . Apply negative or positive sign for each of the moment . Negative sign for clockwise rotation about the Ax axis and positive sign for anticlockwise rotation . Adding all the moments with correct sign convention will give the resultant moment about Ax axis i.e. we get the magnitude of


3. Similarly calculate the magnitudes formula to get magnitude of

MAy and MAz

and apply square root


In the diagram given above let us calculate the moments about point A . Let us first draw the x, y and Z axes as shown in black colour . Let us now draw axes Ax , Ay and Az as shown in red Now let us mark the forces and name them . We have been given following forces : At A Ax, Ay and Az ; At B Bx and By ; At G force W ; At D Force T due to string tension. All marked with red arrows. Let us now examine if the perpendicular distance of each force from Ax,Ay and Az are easily computable. We find in case of force T it is not so . Since force T is in xy plane we resolve it into x and y components. Let us now calculate


Ax,Ay and Az forces have zero moment because they lie in point A Bx and Tx forces have zero moment because they are parallel to Ax axis

MAx = By x 0.200 (ccw) W x 0.300(cw) Ty x 0.680(cw)

Similarly MAy and MAz can be calculated as below

MAy = - Bx

x 0.200 (cw) - Tx x 0. 680 (cw)

[ W has no moment because W

passes through Ay; By and Ty are parallel to Ay Axis so zero moment]

MAz = - Tx x 600(cw)

- W x 300 (cw) + 120 N m(ccw) [ External moment of 120

Nm is given ; Bx,By and Ty pass through Az axis hence zero moment ] Please note Ty= T cos theta and Tx = T sin theta Theta can be calculated by dimensions 600 mm and 200 mm. Tan theta = 200/600