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We use moments to find the centre of mass of uniform plane figures and

discrete mass distributions. In M1 we used moments to calculate the centre

of mass for non uniform rods but in M2 we need to consider two dimensions.

M1 RECAP.......................................................................................................................... 2

CENTRE OF MASS OF A SYSTEM OF PARTICLES DISTRIBUTED IN TWO

DIMENSIONS................................................................................................................ 3

QUESTIONS 1................................................................................................................ 6

CENTRE OF MASS OF A UNIFORM PLANE LAMINA.........................................8

APPLICATION TO COMPOSITE FIGURES...........................................................11

FRAMEWORKS CONSTRUCTED FROM UNIFORM RODS AND WIRES.......15

QUESTIONS 2.............................................................................................................. 17

EQUILIBRIUM OF A UNIFORM LAMINA ON AN INCLINED PLANE........22

EQUILIBRIUM OF A PLANE LAMINA..................................................................24

QUESTIONS 3............................................................................................................. 27

MOR

M1 Recap

Example 1

Three particles of mass 6kg, 3kg and 2.5kg are attached to a light rod PQ of

length 3m at the points P, Q and R, where PR = 0.9m. Find the position of the

centre of mass of the system.

P

3g

2.5g

0.9m

6g

Start by adding the centre of mass to the diagram and let the distance PG

be x.

3g

11.5g

0.9m

6g

11.5g x = 3g 0.9 + 3 2.5g

x = 0.89m

2.5g

The principle applied above is simply applied firstly in the horizontal

direction and then vertically.

Example 2

Particles of mass 2kg, 4kg, 5kg and 6kg are attached to the corners of a

light rectangular plate PQRS. Given that PQ = 5cm and QR = 12cm calculate

the distance of the centre of mass of the system from

a) PQ

b) PS

R

5kg

12cm

4kg

5cm

2kg

6kg

It is very easy to make simple numerical mistakes with these questions and

therefore you are advised to set the question out in a table. It is assumed

that the centre of mass horizontally is at X and vertically at Y .

Mass

x co-ord

Y co-ord

2

0

0

4

0

5

Separate Masses

5

12

5

6

12

0

To find the distance of the centre of mass from PQ we use the formula:

mx mX

i i

60 72 17X

X 7.76

Total Mass

17

X

Y

m y mY

i i

20 25 17Y

Y 2.65

Example 3

The diagram below shows a series of particles that make up a system. The

centre of mass of the system is at the point (x,y). Find the coordinates of

the centre of mass of the system.

2Kg

3kg

(x,y)

X

2.5kg

4Kg

With an example such as this it is once again easy to make a simple numerical

mistake as students may miss the minus signs.

Mass

x co-ord

Y co-ord

2

-2

2

2.5

1

-1

Separate Masses

4

3

-2

mx mX

i i

4 2.5 12 15 11.5X

X 2.22

And similarly for the y direction:

m y mY

i i

4 2.5 8 6 11.5Y

Y 0.04

Therefore the centre of mass of the system is at (2.22,0.04)

3

5

2

Total Mass

11.5

X

Y

Questions 1

1 A light rod PR of length 3.5m has particles of mass 1.5kg, 3kg and 2.5kg

attached to it at P Q and R respectively, where PQ = 1.5m. Determine the

distance of the centre of mass from R.

2 Particles of mass 4kg, 2.5kg, 6kg and 3kg are attached to the corners of a

light rectangular plate PQRS. Given that PQ = 8cm and QR = 16cm calculate

the distance of the centre of mass of the system from

a) PQ

b) PS

R

6kg

16cm

2.5kg

8cm

4kg

P

3kg

S

3 Four particles of mass 1kg, 2kg, 5kg and 2.5kg lie in the (x,y) plane at the

points with coordinates (1,2), (-2,3), (4,2) and (-3,2) respectively. Calculate

the coordinates of the centre of mass of the system.

4 The system below is made up of three light rods. Three masses of value

2.5kg, 4kg and 1kg are placed at the vertices A, B and C respectively.

Calculate the distance of the centre of mass from

a) AB

b) AC.

B

12cm

18cm

A

Obviously there are some standard results to be taken for granted.

Uniform circular disc:- at centre of disc

Uniform triangular lamina:o Equilateral:- at centre

o Isosceles:- at the intersection of the

medians

A median is a line that joins a vertex of a triangle to the centre of the side

opposite to the vertex. The centre of mass of a scalene triangle is at a point

one third of the way along the median (from the edge).

The centre of mass of the triangle ABC is at the point G, where EG = EC.

D

E

r sin

symmetry at a distance

from the centre where is measured

in radians.

2

r

2r sin

distance 3

from the centre, where is measured in radians.

(note the use of in the formula and 2 in the diagram.)

2

r

Example 4

Calculate the coordinates of the centre of mass of the uniform triangular

lamina ABC if the point A is placed at the origin.

B

12m

18m

C

From the definitions above the centre of mass is at the point that is one

third of the way along DC.

B

12m

D

18m

A

Therefore C of M is at (6,4).

Example 5

The centre of mass for the shape below can be found by using the same

ideas as those set out above. All you need to do is treat each part

separately.

Assume that the shape ABCDE is a uniform lamina made up of a rectangle

and an isosceles triangle.

C

12cm

7.5cm

9cm

One only needs to consider the distance of the centre of mass from the

edge AB as the shape is symmetrical and therefore the centre of M will lie

along the mirror line.

Since the rectangle ABCE is uniform its centre of mass will be 6 cm from

AB. The centre of mass of the isosceles triangle will be one third of the way

along the line FD which is a distance of 14.5cm from the line AB. By applying

the tabular method we get:-

Mass

x co-ord

Separate Masses

108m

33.75m

6

14.5

Total Mass

141.75m

Since the separate parts are uniform I have used the areas to represent the

masses.

mx mX

i i

1137.375 141.75X

X 8.02cm

Example 6

The object below is formed by removing a uniform semi circular disc of

radius 3m from a second uniform semi circular disc of radius 6m. Calculate

the center of mass of the object.

6m

3m

2r sin

The formula for the centre of mass for a uniform sector is 3

where

the angle at the centre is 2. Obviously in the above example 2 = .

Separate Masses

Mass

y co-ord

Total

Mass

18

9

27

2

2

X

2 3 sin

2 6 sin

2 4 sin

2 8 sin

3

3

2 3

2

2

2

small semi circular disc from the larger one.

Using the same formula again:

mx mX

i i

27

9 4

18 sin 2 2 sin 2 2 X

144 18

27

X

2

X 2.97

So the centre of mass is 2.97cm from the centre along the axis of

symmetry.

The same principle of adding and subtracting parts can be applied to the

example below.

Example 7

The object below is formed by removing two uniform circular discs from a

uniform rectangular lamina. Calculate the centre of mass of the plate.

16cm

1.5cm

10cm

3cm

6cm

D

12cm

Separate Masses

Circle 2

Rectangular

Lamina

2.25

120

12

6

6

5

Circle 1

Mass

x co-ord

Y co-ord

2.25

3

6

Total Mass

Plate

120-4.5

X

Y

mx mX

i i

X = 5.77cm

Looking at it vertically:

m y mY

i i

Y = 4.87cm

Therefore the centre of mass is 5.77cm from AB and 4.87cm from AD.

By definition the centre of mass of a uniform rod is at its centre therefore

a framework can be treated as a series of particles.

Example 8

The framework ABC is made up of three uniform rods and a semi circular

arc. Find the centre of mass of the framework assuming that A is at the

origin.

B

20cm

12cm

16cm

C

Remembering that the formula for the centre of mass of a uniform circular

r sin

arc is

and that

will have a negative x coordinate.

Mass

x co-ord

Rod AB

12m

0

Y co-ord

Separate Masses

Rod AC

Rod BC

16m

20m

8

8

Arc AB

6m

6sin

2 12

2

6

Total Mass

Framework

(48 + 6)m

mx mX

i i

(16 8) (20 8) (6

12

) (48 6)X

X 3.23cm

m y mY

i i

Y 4.56cm

Therefore the centre of mass is at the point with coordinates (3.23,4.56).

Questions 2

1

For the uniform laminae below determine the coordinates of the

centre of mass.

a)

b)

c)

2

Determine the coordinates of the centre of mass of the uniform plate

below assuming that A is at the origin.

14cm

B

D

E

27cm

19cm

F

6cm

3

The diagram shows a uniform lamina PQRS. Find the distance of

centre of mass from

a) PQ

b) PS

Q

12cm

12cm

18cm

4

A uniform circular sector has a radius of 25cm and the angle at the

centre is 100. Find the distance of the centre of mass of the sector from

the centre of circle.

100

25cm

5

5 An arc of a circle has a radius 18cm and an angle the centre of 8 radians.

Find the distance of the centre of mass of the arc from the centre of

circle.

5

8

18cm

rods as displayed in the diagram below. Calculate the distance of the centre

of mass from the centre of the circle.

100

25cm

7

A thin isosceles triangular plate has a corner folded over as shown in

the diagram below. Find the distance of the centre of mass from AB.

A

27cm

14cm

9cm

B

8

The earring below is formed from a uniform circular disc of radius

2.5cm. As part of the construction process a circular disc of radius 0.5cm is

removed from the original disc where the centre is 3cm from A along the

line AB. The disc is then added back onto the original disc where the centre

of the disc is 0.5cm from A along the line AB. Calculate the distance of the

centre of mass of the earring from A.

B

For an inclined lamina to remain in equilibrium on an inclined plane the line of

action of the weight must fall within the side of the lamina that is in contact

with the plane (as shown in the diagram below).

Example 9

A uniform rectangular lamina is placed on a plane inclined at an angle . Given

that the lamina is in limiting equilibrium find the angle .

6cm

15cm

By simple trigonometry:

Tan

3

7.5

21.8

In exam questions students need to be careful in choosing the angle, a

diagram and the application of alternate angles is usually sufficient.

A suspended lamina will be in equilibrium when its centre of mass is directly

below the point of suspension.

Exam question

The diagram shows a uniform sheet of metal. Find the distance, in cm, of the

centre of mass of the plate.

a)

(i) From AB

(ii) From AF.

The shape hangs in equilibrium from the point C.

b)

Find, to the nearest degree the angle made by CD with the downward

vertical.

8cm

B

D

E

15cm

9cm

F

3cm

a) Splitting the shape into two rectangles and applying the tabular approach

gives:

8cm

B

2

D

15cm

9cm

F

3cm

Mass

x co-ord

Y co-ord

Separate Masses

Rectangle 1

Rectangle 2

45m

30m

1.5

5.5

7.5

12

Total Mass

Plate

75m

X

Y

mx mX

i i

X 3.1cm

Therefore the distance from AB is 3.1cm

And now vertically:

m y mY

i i

Y 9.3cm

Therefore the distance from AF is 9.3cm

b) Once the object is suspended from C, by definition CG will be vertical

and hence needs to be found.

8cm

B

G

E

15cm

9cm

F

3cm

Tan

4.9

5.7

40.7

Questions 3

1

The diagram shows a uniform sheet of metal. Find the distance, in cm,

of the centre of mass of the plate.

a)

(i) From AB

(ii) From AF

The shape hangs in equilibrium from the midpoint of the edge AB.

b)

Find, to the nearest degree the angle made by ED with the downward

vertical.

14cm

B

D

E

22cm

16cm

F

5cm

2

A uniform semicircular lamina is suspended from a point on the

diameter half way between the centre and the outer edge. Calculate in

radians the angle that the diameter makes with the downward vertical.

3

The framework ABC is made up of three uniform rods and a semi

circular arc. Find the centre of mass of the framework assuming that A is at

the origin.

B

15cm

9cm

12cm

C

If the framework is suspended from B, find the angle that AB makes with

the downward vertical.

4

The metallic lamina below is non-uniform. Areas CDEF and IFGH are

twice as dense as the rest of the plate. Calculate the distance of the centre

of mass from:

a) HG

b) JL

A

L

6cm

J

10cm

H

2cm

the angle that BC makes with the downward vertical.

5

If the object in example 7 is freely suspended from D, find the angle

that AD makes with the horizontal.

6

The earring below is formed from three quarters of a circular disc of

radius 3cm. The distance OB is 2.5cm. Find the distance of the centre of

mass, along the line of symmetry, from O.

If the earring is freely suspended from A, find the angle that AB makes

with the mirror line.

7

The object below is formed by removing a uniform semi circular disc

of radius 2.5m from a second uniform semi circular disc of radius 8m.

Calculate the center of mass of the object.

8m

2.5cm

If the object above is placed on an inclined plane, at what angle would the

object topple?

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