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General Physics Lab Handbook by D.D.Venable, A.P.Batra, T.H bsch, D.Walton & M.

Kamal u

Rotation and Torque (Equilibrium of Rigid Bodies)


1. Theory When a rigid body is acted upon by a system of forces, a change may be produced in the linear velocity or in the angular velocity of the body. Under certain conditions the body will be in equilibrium. This experiment presents a study of the conditions for equilibrium of a rigid body under the action of several forces. The torque or the moment of a force, is a measure of the forces tendency to produce rotation. It is equal to the product of the force and the perpendicular distance from the axis of rotation to the line of action the of force. On computing moments the rules of coordinate geometry are used; hence clockwise moments, that is, those moments which tend to produce clockwise rotation are regarded as negative and counter clockwise moments are regarded as positive. A rigid body is a body whose particles do not change their distance from each other. If a system of forces is acting on a rigid body and the forces considered collectively have no tendency to produce any motion of translation or rotation, then the body is in equilibrium. That is, a rigid body is in equilibrium when it has no linear or angular acceleration. The two conditions for the equilibrium of a rigid body are: (1) the vector sum of all the forces acting on the body must be zero; and (2) the vector sum of all the torques or moments of force about any axis must be zero. The rst condition means that the sum of the forces in any direction must equal the sum of the forces in the opposite direction. The second condition means that the sum of clockwise moments about any point must be equal to the sum of the counter clockwise moments about the same point. Suppose one takes, for illustration, a horizontal bar with its axis of rotation at the center and subject to various forces acting upward and downward on it. The moment of each force may then be calculated. If the horizontal bar turns out not to move, it must be in equilibrium. Then, any unknown force or distance at which a force acts may be computed and by making use of the two conditions for the equilibrium of a rigid body. The weight of the bar of course also has to be considered. The weight of a body is the total gravitational force acting on the particles of the body. This constitutes a system of parallel forces. The resultant of this system of forces passes through a point called the center of parallel forces, which is the center of gravity of the body. Thus, in computing moments it is convenient to use the concept of center of gravity. This is the point in a body where the entire weight may be regarded as concentrated, in so far as the force action due to the weight is concerned. Thus, the moment of force exerted by the weight of the bar is the same as if all its weight were concentrated at the center of gravity. 2. Experiment Object: To study the use of a balanced meter stick, the concept of torque and the conditions that must be met for a body to be in rotational equilibrium. Apparatus: Meter stick, stand, weight pans, sets of masses, an unknown weight and a Macintosh Computer. Procedure: 1. Determine the center of gravity by balancing the meter stick on a sharp edge. Repeat several times. Use the value that is the average of the measured values.
Rotation and Torque (Equilibrium of Rigid Bodies): page 1

General Physics Lab Handbook by D.D.Venable, A.P.Batra, T.H bsch, D.Walton & M.Kamal u

2. Weigh the weight holders and label them. Use the average of several readings. 3. Balance the stick on a sharp edge when a known mass of 50 g is hung from the stick. Do not use the center of gravity of the stick as the balance point or fulcrum. Determine the distance from the center of gravity of the stick to the new fulcrum. Determine the distance from the known mass to the new fulcrum. From the condition of equilibrium for torques, solve for the mass of the meter stick. Repeat at least three times with the 50 g mass hung from dierent places on the stick. Determine the average and compare it to the value determined by weighing the stick. 4. Hang a 50 g mass from one hanger and an unknown mass from the second hanger. Balance the meter stick at its center of gravity and move the known weight until the system is balanced. Determine the distances from the weight hangers to the fulcrum. Determine the unknown weight using the conditions of equilibrium. Using the computer spreadsheet calculate the average and compare it to the value determined by weighing the unknown weight. Measurements and tables: All positions and distances are measured, calculated and recorded in cm, and all masses are measured, calculated and recorded in g. In table headings, center of gravity is abbreviated as C.o.G.. Fulcrum positions p1 p2 p3 p4 Average position

p5

Table 1: Determining the center of gravity of the meter stick.

Positions Fulcrum 1 2 3 4 5

50 g

Distance to fulcrum C.o.G. 50 g

Mass of the meter stick

Average mass of the meter stick: Table 2: Determining the mass of the meter stick.
Rotation and Torque (Equilibrium of Rigid Bodies): page 2

General Physics Lab Handbook by D.D.Venable, A.P.Batra, T.H bsch, D.Walton & M.Kamal u

Positions Fulcrum 1 2 3 4 5

50 g

Unkn.

Distance to fulcrum C.o.G. 50 g Unkn.

Mass of the unkn. weight

Average mass of the unknown weight: Table 3: Determining the mass of the unknown weight. Questions: 1. Why was the supporting force exerted on the meter stick by the sharp edge not considered in your calculations? 2. A meter stick is pivoted at its 50 cm mark but does not balance because of nonuniformities in its material that cause its center of gravity to be displaced from its geometrical center. However, when weights of 150 g and 300 g are placed at the 10 cm and 75 cm marks, respectively, balance is obtained. The weights are then interchanged and balance is again obtained by shifting the pivot point to the 43 cm mark. Find the mass of the meter stick and the location of its center of gravity.

Rotation and Torque (Equilibrium of Rigid Bodies):

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