4.

3 Moment of a Couple
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 1, page 1 of 3
1. Two swimmers on opposite sides of a boat
attempt to turn the boat by pushing as shown. A
Determine the couple moment about

a) point A on the bow, 1m
b) point B on the stern, and
c) point C. 50 N

Also state what general principles your results
demonstrate. 2m

C
50 N

1.5 m

B
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 1, page 2 of 3

1 Calculate the moment about A.
2 Calculate the moment about B.
MA = (50 N)(1 m) (50 N)(1 m + 2 m)
MB = (50 N)(2 m + 1.5 m) (50 N)(1.5 m)
= 100 N·m ns.
= 100 N·m ns.
A

1m

50 N 50 N

2m 2m

C C
50 N 50 N

1.5 m

B
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 1, page 3 of 3
3 Moment about C

MC = (50 N)(2 m)
50 N
= 100 N·m ns.

2m

C
50 N

4 General principles demonstrated:

1) The couple moment is the same about every
point, and
ns.
2) The calculation of the couple moment is
simplified if the moment is calculated about a
point on the line of action of one of the forces
making up the couple.
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 2, page 1 of 3
2. Determine the magnitude and sense of the resultant couple
moment acting on the rectangular plate.

30 N
20 N
8m 1 Resolve the inclined forces into rectangular
30°
components.
A D

4m 20 N 30 N
(20 N) sin 30°
B C = 10 N
30°
30°
A D
20 N (20 N) cos 30°
30 N = 17.32 N
(20 N) cos 30°
= 17.32 N
B C
30°
(20 N) sin30°
= 10 N
30 N 20 N
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 2, page 2 of 3

2 Calculate the moments
3 Moment of the couple formed by the forces at B and D.
10 N 30 N
MD = (30 N)(8 m)

8m = 240 N·m (1)
17.32 N
A D This moment value would be the same for any other point
besides D.
4m

B C
17.32 N

30 N 10 N

4 Moment of the couple formed by the forces at A and C.

MC = (17.32 N)(4 m) (10 N)(8 m)

= 10.72 N·m (2)

This moment value would be the same for any other point besides C.
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 2, page 3 of 3
5 Since both couple moments are the same about all
points, we can move them to any arbitrary point
we choose and then add them to get the resultant
couple moment.

M = MC + MD
= 10.72 + 240

= 229 N·m ns.
No subscript because
valid for all points

A D

229 N·m

B C

6 Arbitrary location
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 3, page 1 of 2
3. Determine the value of the force P such that the
resultant couple moment of the two couples acting on
the beam is 900 lb·ft clockwise.

4 ft 5 ft 7 ft
P P 200 lb
5 4
B D E 3
A
C
5 4
0.5 ft
3
200 lb
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 3, page 2 of 2

5 ft 7 ft
P P 160 lb
0.5 ft
B D E 120 lb
A
C
120 lb
1 Compute the moment of the couple at B and D.

160 lb MD = P(5 ft) (1)
3 Since the couple moments are the same about all
points, we can move them both to any arbitrary
point we choose and then add them to get the
resultant couple moment:

M = P(5) + 1860 (3) 2 Compute the moment of the couple at C and E.

ME = (120 lb)(0.5 ft) + (160 lb)(5 ft + 7 ft)
4 Since the resultant couple moment is specified to
be 900 lb·ft clockwise, Eq. 3 becomes = 1860 lb·ft (2)

900 lb·ft = P(5) + 1860

Solving gives

P = 552 lb ns.
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 4, page 1 of 2
4. The wrench applies a 10 N·m couple
moment to the bolt. To prevent the plate
from rotating, two 2-N forces are applied as
shown. Determine the distance s such that the
resultant couple moment acting on the plate
and bolt is zero.

10 N·m
 

C

A B

2N 2N
s
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 4, page 2 of 2

1 To calculate the moment of the couple, sum the moments of
the two forces at A and B with respect to the point A:

MA = (2 N)s
10 N·m
  2 Since couple moments are the same about any point, the two
C couple moments of (2 N)s and 10 N·m can be considered to act
at the same point and thus added to give the resultant moment,
M (Note that no subscript is needed on M, since M is
A B independent of where the moment is calculated):

M = (2 N)s 10 N·m

2N 2N
s 3 Because the resultant moment, M, is to be zero, the latter
equation becomes

0 = (2 N)s 10

Solving gives

s=5m ns.
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 5, page 1 of 5
5. Two cords are wrapped around pegs attached to a
board as shown. Determine the value of such that P is
as small as possible while still producing a resultant
couple moment of zero. Also determine the value of P
corresponding to this value of . Neglect the size of the
pegs.

80 N

A B

P P 2m

C D

80 N

4m
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 5, page 2 of 5

80 N
B 1 Moment of the couple at B and C.

2m
MC = (80 N)(2 m)

= 160 N·m (1)
C
80 N

2 To balance the 160 N·m couple moment computed in
A Eq. 1, the moment of the couple at A and D must be
160 N·m. To achieve this value of couple moment
P with the smallest possible value of force P, P must be
P perpendicular to line AD
D
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 5, page 3 of 5

A B

2m P P 3 Now use geometry to find .
C D
4 Equal angles

4m
5 tan-1 4 m
2m
= 63.4° (2) ns.
A
2 2
6 distance AD = (2 m) + (4 m)

2m P P = 4.472 m

7 Moment of couple A and D
C D
MD = P distance AD
4m
= P(4.472 m) (3)
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 5, page 4 of 5
8 The resultant couple moment must be zero:
M = MC + MD = 0 (4)

or,

160 + P(4.472 m) = 0

Solving gives

P = 35.8 N ns.

9 Alternative solution. Do not assume that force P is
perpendicular to line AD. Calculate the couple moment of P
about point D in terms of the unknown angle . P cos A

MD = (P cos )(2 m) + (P sin )(4 m) (5)
2m P P sin P
Now substitute the expressions for MC and MD into Eq. 4:
D
MC + MD = 0 (Eq. 4 repeated)

by Eq. 1 by Eq. 5

160 (P cos )(2) + (P sin )(4) 4m
Solving for P gives
80
P= (6)
cos + 2 sin
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 5, page 5 of 5
10 To find the minimum value of P, use
dP = 0
d
From Eq. 6,
dP = d 80
=0
d d cos + 2 sin
so

80 ( sin + 2 cos )
=0
(cos + 2 sin )2

Thus

sin + 2 cos =0

tan =2

= tan-1 2

= 63.4°

This is the same result as Eq. 2.
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 6, page 1 of 3
6. A plumber uses two pipe wrenches so that he can
loosen pipe BC from pipe AB without also
loosening pipe AB from the connection at the wall,
A. Determine the moment of the forces about a) A
and b) D. Also state what general principles your
results demonstrate.

y
130 mm 250 mm

B C
x
A
80 N

z 175 mm
D E

80 N
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 6, page 2 of 3
y
130 mm 250 mm
1 Part a): Determine the moment about
point A. Introduce position vectors
from point A to points D and E
respectively.
B C
x rAD = {130i 175j} mm (1)
A
rAE = {130 mm + 250 mm}i (175 mm}j
80 N
rAD
rBD = {380i 175j} mm (2)
z
175 mm
D E
80 N
2 Use the cross product definition of moment.
MA = rAD {80k} N + rAE { 80k} N
Equal magnitude, opposite
= {130i 175j} {80k} + {380i 175j} { 80k} sign, so cancel out

= 130(80)i k 175(80)j k + 380( 80)i k 175( 80)j k
= j = j
i
= [130(80) + 380( 80)]( j) j

= {20 000j} N·mm
k
= {20j} N·m
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 6, page 3 of 3
y

3 Part b): To determine the moment about
250 mm point D, first introduce a position vector
with tail at D and head at E.
B C rDE = {250i} mm
x
A
MD 80 N
z 175 mm 4 Calculate the moment.
D rDE E MD = rDE { 80k} N
80 N
= {250i} { 80k}
5 The two forces (the couple) produce a moment that tends to rotate the
entire pipe assembly about the vertical axis (j component). The force
= 250( 80)i k
applied at E also produces a moment on pipe BC about the x axis, while
= j
the force applied at D produces a moment on the other pipe, AB, about
the x axis. Since the forces have opposite senses, the moments have i
= {20000j} N mm j
opposite senses and thus the total moment applied (to the entire pipe)
about the x axis adds to zero (no i component in MD).
= {20j} N m
6 k
General principles demonstrated:
Same result as in Part a).
1) The couple moment is the same about every point, and

2) the calculation of the couple moment is simplified, if the moment is
calculated about a point on the line of action of one of the forces
making up the couple.
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 7, page 1 of 3
7. Determine the couple moment produced by the two
forces applied to the handle of the crank as shown.
y
40°

F = 20 N
300 mm
25° A B
x
25°

40°

G = 20 N
z
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 7, page 2 of 3
1 Express the force F in rectangular components.

2 Fy = (20 N) cos 40°
40° y
= 15.32 N
F = 20 N

3 (20 N) sin 40° 25°
x
A
= 12.86 N
z

5 Fx = (12.86 N) cos 25°
4 Fz = (12.86 N) sin 25°
= 11.66 N
= 5.43 N
6 In component form,

F = {11.66i 15.32j + 5.43k} N
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 7, page 3 of 3

7 Introduce a position vector with tail at B and head at A 8 Calculate the couple moment.

rBA = { 300i} mm M = rBA F

= { 300i} {11.66i 15.32j + 5.43k}
40° y
= 300(11.66)i i 300( 15.32)i j 300( 5.43)i k
F = 20 N
300 mm =0 =k = j

25° A rBA B = {1629j + 4596k} N·mm
x i
25° j
= {1.63j + 4.60k} N·m ns.

k
40°
G = 20 N
9 Because the couple has both j and k
z components, it tends to cause rotation
about both the y and z axes.
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 8, page 1 of 6
8. Determine the resultant couple moment of the two couples acting
on the block.
y

A B
20 in. 6 lb
5 in.
x

6 lb
C D
10 lb

30°

E 10 lb F
z
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 8, page 2 of 6

y

1 Introduce a position vector
6 lb B from a point, A, on the line of
action of the { 6i} lb force, to
20 in. A a point C, on the line of action
5 in.
rAC of the {+6i} lb force.
x
rAC = {20k} in.
10 lb 6 lb
C D
2 Calculate the moment of the 6-lb couple.
30° M6 = rAC {6i} lb
E F i
10 lb = {20k} {6i} j
zz

= 20(6) k i
k
j
= {120j} lb·in.
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 8, page 3 of 6
y

3 Introduce a position vector
6 lb from a point, D, on the line of
B
action of the { 10i} lb force,
A to a point, F, on the line of
20 in. 5 in.
action of the {+10i} lb force.
x
rDF = { 5j + 8.660k} in.
10 lb 6 lb
C D
D, C

30° rDF
5 in.
E 10 lb F 30°
z F, E

4 Calculate the moment of the 10-lb couple.
5 in. = 8.660 in.
M10 = rDF {10i} tan 30°
i
= { 5j + 8.660k} {10i} j View from positive x axis
looking back on yz plane
= 5(10)j i + 8.660(10)k i
k
= k =j

= {86.60j + 50k} lb·in.
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 8, page 4 of 6

5 Compute the resultant couple moment from Eqs. 1 MR
and 2, y

MR = M6 + M10 M10 M6

A B
= {120j} + {86.60j + 50k}

= {206.6j + 50k} lb·in. ns. x
The two couples combine to produce a rotation of
the block about the axis defined by the MR vector.
C D
Since MR is the same for all points, it can be
considered to act at an arbitrary point on top of the
block.
30°
E F
z
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 8, page 5 of 6
y 6 Alternative solution that does not use the cross product
definition of a moment:
6 lb
20 in. A B Using the right hand rule and the scalar equation M = Fd,
120 lb·in 5 in. we can see that the couple moment produced by the 6-lb
x couple has magnitude 6 lb 20 in. = 120 lb·in. and can be
represented as a vector perpendicular to the plane of the
forces (plane ABDC) and pointing up.
C 6 lb D
7 Similarly, the 10-lb couple produces a couple moment with
magnitude 10 lb distance DF = 10 lb 10 in. = 100 lb·in
30° and with direction perpendicular to the plane CDFE.

E F y
z 5 in. = 10 in.
sin 30° 100 lb·in
20 in. A B
5 in. D, C
x
100 lb·in
5 in.
C 30°
D
10 lb F, E
View from positive x axis looking back on yz plane
30°
E 10 lb F
z
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 8, page 6 of 6
8 To add the 100 lb·in. couple moment and the 120 lb·in. couple
moment vectorially, we first have to express the 100 lb·in.
couple moment, which is perpendicular to FD, in terms of its
y and z components. 11 Moment vector perpendicular
to top surface (plane ABDC)
of block

100 lb·in
(100 lb·in)(sin 60°) = 86.6 lb·in 12 In component form,
10 90° 30° = 60°
MR = 86.6j + 50.0k + 120j
D, C
= {206.6j + 50k} lb·in.
30°
(100 lb·in.)(cos 60°) = 50.0 lb·in. Same answer as before.
30°
F, E
y

z x

9 View from positive x axis looking back on yz plane
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 9, page 1 of 5
9. Force F is applied to the doorknob as shown. Determine
where on the surface of the door a force G = F should be
applied so that the resulting couple moment has a y
component of 2 N·m but no x or z components.

y

F = {16i + 12k} N

70 mm

650 mm

x
700 mm

z
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 9, page 2 of 5
y

F = {16i + 12k} N

1 Introduce a force G.

A G= F
70 mm
rBA
= {16i + 12k} N
650 mm B(xB, yB, 0)
= { 16i 12k} N

x G acts at a point B(xB, yB, 0) on the surface
G= F
of the door. G and F form a couple.
700 mm

z
2 Draw a position vector rBA from point B on the surface of the door
to point A on the doorknob, and determine its rectangular
components.

rBA = (700 mm xB)i + (650 mm yB)j + (70 mm 0)k
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 9, page 3 of 5

3 Calculate the couple moment.

M = rBA F

i j k

= (700 xB) (650 yB) 70

16 0 12

(650 yB) 70 (700 xB) 70 (700 xB) (650 yB)
= i j +k
0 12 16 12 16 0

= i [(650 yB)(12) 70(0)] j[(700 xB)(12) 70(16)] + k[(700 xB)(0) (650 yB)(16)]

= i [(650 yB)(12)] j [( 12xB + 7280)] + k [ (650 yB)(16)] (1)

4 Use the fact that we know Mx = 0, so

Mx = (650 yB)(12) = 0 (2)

and Mz = 0, so

Mz = (650 yB)(16) = 0 (3)
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 9, page 4 of 5
5 Solving Eq. 2 gives

yB = 650 mm ns.

This value of yB also satisfies Eq. 3:

(650 yB)(16) = 0 (Eq. 3 repeated)

650
The y component of M, from Eq. 1, is

My = ( 12xB + 7280) N·mm (4)

Since My was specified at the beginning of the problem as

My = 2 N·m = 2000 N·mm

Eq. 4 becomes

2000 = ( 12xB + 7280)

Solving gives

xB = 440 mm ns.
4.3 Moment of a Couple Example 9, page 5 of 5
y

7 M = { 2j} N·m

The couple moment
tends to open the door.

F = {16i + 12k} N

B
G
440 mm
650 mm
6 Thus force G is applied at the same
height as F but closer to the hinges.
x
G = { 16i 12k} N
700 mm

z