Introduction to statics
Static Equilibrium Equations
Examples:
Suspended beam
Hanging lamp
Ladder
Australian Institute of Sport
Statics:
“Statics” is the study of systems that don’t move.
Ladders, Stability of solid objects
Balanced objects
Buildings, Suspension bridges
Clifton Suspension Bridge Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats
Statics:
Example: Evaluate the forces acting on a car parked on a hill.
x
y

N
mg
f
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Car on Hill:
Use Newton’s 2nd Law: F
NET
= MA
CM
= 0
x
y

N
mg
f
F =
¿
0
x: f  mg sin  = 0
f = mg sin 
y: N  mg cos  = 0
N = mg cos 
Suspended beam:
Now consider a beam of mass M suspended by two strings as
shown. We want to find the tension in each string:
L/2
L/4
M
x cm
T
1
T
2
Mg
F =
¿
0 First use
T
1
+ T
2
= Mg
This is no longer enough to
solve the problem!
1 equation, 2 unknowns.
We need more information!!
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Suspended beam
We do have more information:
We know the beam is not rotating!
t
NET
= Io = 0
The sum of all torques is zero.
This is true about any axis
we choose.
t =
¿
0
L/2
L/4
M
x cm
T
1
T
2
Mg
Using Torque...
Choose the rotation axis to be along the z direction (out of the
page) through the CM:
t
2 2
4
=T
L
The torque due to the string
on the right about this axis is:
t
1 1
2
= ÷T
L
The torque due to the string on
the left about this axis is:
Gravity exerts no torque about the CM
L/2
L/4
M
x cm
T
1
T
2
Mg
Using Torque...
Now
T
L
T
L
2 1
4 2
0 ÷ =
T T
2 1
2 =
We already found that
T
1
+ T
2
= Mg
T Mg
1
1
3
=
T Mg
2
2
3
=
L/2
L/4
M
x cm
T
1
T
2
Mg
t =
¿
0
Approach to Statics:
t =
¿
0
F =
¿
0
In general, we can use the two equations
to solve any statics problem.
When choosing axes about which to calculate torque, we can
sometimes be clever and make the problem easier....
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Juan and Bettina are carrying 80 kg block on a
massless 4 m board. Find the force in newtons
exerted by each to carry the block.
1. Juan 400 N, Bettina 400 N
2. Juan 350 N, Bettina 450 N
3. Juan 300 N, Bettina 500 N
4. Juan 250 N, Bettina 550 N
Juan and Bettina are carrying 80 kg block on a
massless 4 m board. Find the force in newtons
exerted by each to carry the block.
Force:
Torque:
mg
F
J
F
B
Center of Mass & Statics
The center of mass is at the point where the system
balances!
Sum of all gravitational torques about an axis through the
center of mass is 0!
0
2 2 1 1
= ÷ d m d m
m
1
m
2
+
d
1
d
2
CM
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0
2 2 1 1
= ÷ gd m gd m
Mobile
A mobile hangs as shown below.
The rods are massless.
The mass of the ball at the bottom right is 1kg.
Find the unknown masses.
1 kg
1 m 3 m
1 m 2 m
Solution
First figure out M
1
.
1 kg
1 m 3 m
1 m 2 m
M
1
0 ) 1 ( ) 1 )( 3 (
1
= ÷ M m kg m
kg 3 M
1
=
Solution
Now M
2
.
0 ) 2 ( ) 4 )( 1 (
4
2
= ÷
=
M m kg m
kg T
M kg
2
2 =
M
2
1 kg
1 m 3 m
1 m 2 m
3 kg
T
Solution
So finally
1 kg
1 m 3 m
1 m 2 m
3 kg
2 kg
Statics
A 1 kg ball is hung at the end of a rod 1 m long. The system balances
at a point on the rod 0.25 m from the end holding the mass.
What is the mass of the rod?
1. 0.5 kg 2. 1 kg 3. 2 kg
1 kg
1 m
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Solution
The total torque about the pivot must be zero.
1 kg
The center of mass of the rod is at its center, 0.25 m to the
right of the pivot.
X
CM of rod
Since this must balance the ball, which is the same distance
to the left of the pivot, the masses must be the same!
same distance
m
ROD
= 1 kg
Example: Hanging Lamp
A lamp of mass M hangs from the end of plank of mass m and
length L. One end of the plank is held to a wall by a hinge, and
the other end is supported by a massless string that makes an
angle  with the plank. (The hinge supplies a force to hold the
end of the plank in place.)
What is the tension in the string?
What are the forces supplied by the
hinge on the plank?
hinge
M
m
L

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M
m
L/2

F
x
F
y
T
L/2
Mg
mg
y
x
x: T cos  + F
x
= 0
y: T sin  + F
y
 Mg  mg = 0
t =
¿
0 Then in the z direction.
choose the rotation axis to
be through the hinge so hinge forces
F
x
and F
y
will not be included
0 LTsin  mg
2
L
LMg =  +
F =
¿
0
First
Hanging Lamp...
So we have three equations and three unknowns:
F
x
= T cos 
F
y
= Mg + mg  T sin 
M
m
L/2

F
x
F
y
T
L/2
Mg
mg
mg
2
L
LMg LTsin + = 
which we can solve to find:
( )
 sin
g
2
m
M
T
+
=
( )
 tan
g
2
m
M
F
x
+ ÷
=
F mg
y
=
1
2
What are the two forces F1 and F2 exerted by
a hand on a 5m long rod of mass m? Compare
them to a total force exerted by the hand.
1. F1=2 mg ; F2 =mg;
2. F1=11 mg; F2=10 mg;
3. F1=25 mg ; F2=24 mg;
4. F1 =50 mg; F2 = 49 mg.
5 m
10 cm
m
F1
F2
What are the two forces F1 and F2 exerted by
a hand on a 5m long rod of mass m? Compare
them to a total force exerted by the hand.
5 m
0.1 m
m
F1
F2
mg
2.4m
Torque:
Force:
Example: Ladder against smooth wall
A ladder (length L, mass m) leans against a smooth wall (no
friction between wall and ladder).
A static frictional force F between the ladder and the floor
keeps it from slipping (µ
S
= 0.70)
The angle between the ladder and the floor is .
What angle  is needed to prevent the ladder
from slipping?

L
m
F
Example: Ladder against smooth wall...
Consider all of the forces.
Gravity
Friction
Normal forces N
f
and N
w
by the floor and wall
respectively on the ladder.
Use EF = 0
x: N
w
+ F = 0
y: N
f
 mg = 0
F = N
w
N
f
= mg

m
F
mg
N
w
N
f
y
x
Example: Ladder against smooth wall
Now using base of ladder as axis. t =
¿
0
L/2

m
F
mg
N
w
N
f
) sin( ) 90 sin(
2
0   t
W
LN mg
L
+ + ÷ = =
¿
W
W
N
mg
N mg
2
1
) tan(
) sin( ) cos(
2
1
0
=
+ ÷ =

 
Example: Ladder against smooth wall
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L/2

m
F
mg
N
w
N
f
W
N
mg
2
1
) tan( = 
mg N F
F N
S f S
W
µ µ = =
=
° =
=
·
= = =
36
71 .
7 . 0 2
1
2
1
2
1
) tan(

µ µ

S S
mg
mg
Tipping a Box
A box is placed on a ramp in the configurations shown below. Friction
prevents it from sliding. The center of mass of the box is indicated by
a blue dot in each case.
In which cases does the box tip over?
1. all 2. 2 & 3 3. 3 only 4. none
1 2
3
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Box
We have seen that the torque due to gravity acts as though all the
mass of an object is concentrated at the center of mass.
Consider the bottom right corner of the box to be a pivot point.
If the box can rotate in such a way that the center of mass is
lowered, it will!
1
2
3
up
down
Box
1 2
3
We have seen that the torque due to gravity acts as though all the
mass of an object is concentrated at the center of mass.
Consider the bottom right corner of the box to be a pivot point.
If the box can rotate in such a way that the center of mass is
lowered, it will!