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Angular Kinetics


Kinetics • study of the relationship between the forces acting on a system and the motion of the system Angular Motion (Rotation) • All points in an object or system move in a circle about a single axis of rotation. All points move through the same angle in the same time Linear Kinetics • The kinetics of particles, objects, or systems undergoing rotation

Objectives: • Define angular kinetics • Define and learn to compute moment arms, torque, and resultant torques • Introduction to resultant joint torques, anatomical torque descriptions, and force couples

Torque (or Moment)
• A measure of the extent to which a force will cause an object to rotate about a specific axis • A net force applied through the center of mass produces translation • A net force applied away from the center of mass (i.e. an eccentric force) produces both translation and rotation

Line of Action
• The line of action of a force is the imaginary line that extends from the force vector in both directions

line of action of F





Moment Arm
• Shortest distance from a force’s line of action to the axis of rotation • Moment arm is always perpendicular to the line of action and passes through the axis of rotation
line of action of F moment arm of F 90°

Computing a Moment Arm
• Need to know: – distance (d) from axis of rotation to point at which force is applied – angle (θ) at which force is applied • Use trigonometry to compute moment arm (d⊥)

d⊥ = d sin θ F
axis of rotation



axis of rotation

Moment Arm Examples
axis of rotation

Computing Torque
• Torque has: – a magnitude – a direction (+ or –) – a specific axis of rotation • The magnitude of the torque (T) produced by a force is the product of the force’s magnitude (F) times the force’s moment arm (d⊥):

d θ d⊥= d sin θ

d⊥ = d



d⊥ = d sin θ

θ d

d⊥ = 0

T = F d⊥ F

axis of rotation

T = F d⊥ F



• Units: – English: foot-pounds (ft-lb) – SI : Newton-meters (Nm)



Direction of a Torque
• Positive torque : acts counterclockwise about the axis of rotation. • Negative torque : acts clockwise about the axis • Determine direction using the right hand rule: – Place right hand on force vector, fingers towards arrow tip – Curl fingers around axis of rotation – Torque acts in direction that fingers are curled

Example Problem #1
Shown below are 4 muscles acting across a joint. Which muscles have the largest and smallest force? moment arm? torque magnitude?
2 100 N joint
50° 20° 60°

3 100 N

1 150 N

0.01 m 0.02 m

axis of rotation

T<0 F F
0.04 m

limb segment

4 35 N

Torque Composition
• Process of determining a single resultant (or net) torque from two or more torques. • Performed by adding the torques together, taking the sign (direction) of the torque into account • Resultant torque has same effect on rotation as the individual torques acting together

Resultant Joint Torque
• The effects of all forces acting about a joint can be duplicated exactly by the combination of: – A resultant joint force acting at the joint center – A resultant joint torque acting about the axis of rotation through the joint center • Resultant joint force is the vector composition of all forces acting across a joint. • Resultant joint torque is the composition of the torques produced about the joint axis by these forces. • Note: Forces that do not act across the joint (e.g. weight) are not included in the resultant joint force or torque.

T3 T1
axis of rotation


T net = |T 1| – |T 2| + |T 3|

T2 F1


Note: |T| = magnitude of torque T (≥ 0)


Fcontact Tresultant
knee joint center

Use of Resultant Joint Torque
• Typically, joint contact force, muscle forces, ligament forces, etc. cannot be determined individually • We can compute resultant joint forces and torques based on data measured external to the body • Except near the limits of the anatomical range of motion, the main contributors to the resultant joint torque are the muscles • The resultant joint torque provides a simplified picture of which muscle groups are most active about a joint

d ⊥acl




d ⊥quads d ⊥hams




Facl Fhams

Tresultant = (Fquads d⊥quads) + (F acl d⊥acl) – (Fhams d⊥hams)

Example Problem #2
Shown is a forearm with 2 elbow flexors and 1 elbow extensor. Find the resultant joint torque for the 3 combinations of forces shown in the table:
Ft Fcontact Fbi Fbr
30° 0.025 m 0.05 m 0.10 m

Force Couple
• For pure rotation about the center of mass, the center of mass must remain stationary from Newton’s 1st law, the net force on the object must equal zero • Force couple : Two forces of equal magnitude, applied in opposite directions. Produce pure rotation about the center of mass.

Ft Fcontact Fbi
0.25 m

0 8 16 0



3.2 46.4 10 2.4 20 4.8

d⊥2 d⊥1 Fbr RJT

T = F (d⊥1 + d ⊥2 )

ΣF=0 Net Effect

Force Couple


Anatomical Torques
• Positive & negative torques depend on frame of reference chosen:
y y





• To avoid this problem, joint torques are typically described by the joint motion that would occur if the segment moved in the direction of the torque (e.g. Fquad produces a knee extension torque)