# Chapter 18 Static Equilibrium

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1 Chapter 8 Static Equilibrium 8. Introduction Static Equilibrium Lever Law... Example 8. Lever Law Generalized Lever Law Worked Examples... 7 Example 8. Suspended Rod... 7 Example 8.3 Person Standing on a Hill... 0 Example 8.4 The Knee... Appendix 8A The Torques About any Two Points are Equal for a Body in Static Equilibrium... 6

2 Chapter 8 Static Equilibrium The proof of the correctness of a new rule can be attained by the repeated application of it, the frequent comparison with experience, the putting of it to the test under the most diverse circumstances. This process, would in the natural course of events, be carried out in time. The discoverer, however hastens to reach his goal more quickly. He compares the results that flow from his rule with all the experiences with which he is familiar, with all older rules, repeatedly tested in times gone by, and watches to see if he does not light on contradictions. In this procedure, the greatest credit is, as it should be, conceded to the oldest and most familiar experiences, the most thoroughly tested rules. Our instinctive experiences, those generalizations that are made involuntarily, by the irresistible force of the innumerable facts that press upon us, enjoy a peculiar authority; and this is perfectly warranted by the consideration that it is precisely the elimination of subjective caprice and of individual error that is the object aimed at. 8. Introduction Static Equilibrium Ernst Mach When the vector sum of the forces acting on a point-like object is zero then the object will continue in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a straight line. If the object is in uniform motion we can always change reference frames so that the object will be at rest. We showed that for a collection of point-like objects the sum of the external forces may be regarded as acting at the center of mass. So if that sum is zero the center of mass will continue in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a straight line. We introduced the idea of a rigid body, and again showed that in addition to the fact that the sum of the external forces may be regarded as acting at the center of mass, forces like the gravitational force that acts at every point in the body may be treated as acting at the center of mass. However for an extended rigid body it matters where the force is applied because even though the sum of the forces on the body may be zero, a non-zero sum of torques on the body may still produce angular acceleration. In particular for fixed axis rotation, the torque along the axis of rotation on the object is proportional to the angular acceleration. It is possible that sum of the torques may be zero on a body that is not constrained to rotate about a fixed axis and the body may still undergo rotation. We will restrict ourselves to the special case in which in an inertial reference frame both the center of mass of the body is at rest and the body does not undergo any rotation, a condition that is called static equilibrium of an extended object. The two sufficient and necessary conditions for a rigid body to be in static equilibrium are: Ernst Mach, The Science of Mechanics: A Critical and Historical Account of Its Development, translated by Thomas J. McCormack, Sixth Edition with Revisions through the Ninth German Edition, Open Court Publishing, Illinois. 8-

3 () The sum of the forces acting on the rigid body is zero, F = F + F + = 0. (8..) () The vector sum of the torques about any point S in a rigid body is zero, 8. Lever Law τ S = τ S, + τ S, + = 0. (8..) Let s consider a uniform rigid beam of mass m b balanced on a pivot near the center of mass of the beam. We place two objects and of masses m and m on the beam, at distances d and d respectively from the pivot, so that the beam is static (that is, the beam is not rotating. See Figure 8..) We shall neglect the thickness of the beam and take the pivot point to be the center of mass. Figure 8. Pivoted Lever Let s consider the forces acting on the beam. The earth attracts the beam downward. This gravitational force acts on every atom in the beam, but we can summarize its action by stating that the gravitational force m b g is concentrated at a point in the beam called the center of gravity of the beam, which is identical to the center of mass of the uniform beam. There is also a contact force F pivot between the pivot and the beam, acting upwards on the beam at the pivot point. The objects and exert normal forces downwards on the beam, N,b N, and N,b N, with magnitudes N, and N, respectively. Note that the normal forces are not the gravitational forces acting on the objects, but contact forces between the beam and the objects. (In this case, they are mathematically the same, due to the horizontal configuration of the beam and the fact that all objects are in static equilibrium.) The distances d and d are called the moment arms with respect to the pivot point for the forces N and N, respectively. The force diagram on the beam is shown in Figure 8.. Note that the pivot force F and the force of gravity m b g each has a zero moment arm about the pivot point. pivot 8-

4 Figure 8. Free-body diagram on beam Because we assume the beam is not moving, the sum of the forces in the vertical direction acting on the beam is therefore zero, F pivot m b g N N = 0. (8..) The force diagrams on the objects are shown in Figure 8.3. Note the magnitude of the normal forces on the objects are also N and N since these are each part of an actionreaction pair, N, b = N b,, and N, b = N b,. (a) (b) Figure 8.3 Free-body force diagrams for each body. The condition that the forces sum to zero is not sufficient to completely predict the motion of the beam. All we can deduce is that the center of mass of the system is at rest (or moving with a uniform velocity). In order for the beam not to rotate the sum of the torques about any point must be zero. In particular the sum of the torques about the pivot point must be zero. Because the moment arm of the gravitational force and the pivot force is zero, only the two normal forces produce a torque on the beam. If we choose out of the page as positive direction for the torque (or equivalently counterclockwise rotations are positive) then the condition that the sum of the torques about the pivot point is zero becomes d N d N =. (8..) 0 The magnitudes of the two torques about the pivot point are equal, a condition known as the lever law. 8-3

5 Lever Law: A beam of length l is balanced on a pivot point that is placed directly beneath the center of mass of the beam. The beam will not undergo rotation if the product of the normal force with the moment arm to the pivot is the same for each body, d N = d N. (8..3) Example 8. Lever Law Suppose a uniform beam of length l =.0 m and mass m B =.0 kg is balanced on a pivot point, placed directly beneath the center of the beam. We place body with mass m = 0.3 kg a distance d = 0.4 m to the right of the pivot point, and a second body with m = 0.6 kg a distance d to the left of the pivot point, such that the beam neither translates nor rotates. (a) What is the force F that the pivot exerts on the beam? (b) pivot What is the distance d that maintains static equilibrium? Solution: a) By Newton s Third Law, the beam exerts equal and opposite normal forces of magnitude N on body, and N on body. The condition for force equilibrium applied separately to the two bodies yields N m g 0 =, (8..4) N m g 0 =. (8..5) Thus the total force acting on the beam is zero, and the pivot force is F pivot (m b + m + m )g = 0, (8..6) F pivot = (m b + m + m )g = (.0 kg+ 0.3 kg+ 0.6 kg)(9.8 m s ) =.8 0 N. (8..7) b) We can compute the distance d from the Lever Law, d = d N N = d m g m g = d m (0.4 m)(0.3 kg) = = 0. m. (8..8) m 0.6 kg 8-4

6 8.3 Generalized Lever Law We can extend the Lever Law to the case in which two external forces F and F are acting on the pivoted beam at angles θ and θ with respect to the horizontal as shown in the Figure 8.4. Throughout this discussion the angles will be limited to the range [0 θ, θ π ]. We shall again neglect the thickness of the beam and take the pivot point to be the center of mass. The forces F and F Figure 8.4 Forces acting at angles to a pivoted beam. ( F,, F, ) and ( F,, F, ), where F, can be decomposed into separate vectors components respectively and F, are the horizontal vector projections of the two forces with respect to the direction formed by the length of the beam, and F, and F, are the perpendicular vector projections respectively to the beam (Figure 8.5), with F = F, + F,, (8.3.) F = F, + F,. (8.3.) Figure 8.5 Vector decomposition of forces. The horizontal components of the forces are F, = F cosθ, (8.3.3) F, = F cosθ, (8.3.4) 8-5

7 where our choice of positive horizontal direction is to the right. Neither horizontal force component contributes to possible rotational motion of the beam. The sum of these horizontal forces must be zero, F cosθ F cosθ = 0. (8.3.5) The perpendicular component forces are F, F sinθ (8.3.6) F, F sinθ (8.3.7) where the positive vertical direction is upwards. The perpendicular components of the forces must also sum to zero, F pivot m b g + F sinθ + F sinθ = 0. (8.3.8) Only the vertical components F, and F, of the external forces are involved in the lever law (but the horizontal components must balance, as in Equation (8.3.5), for equilibrium). Then the Lever Law can be extended as follows. Generalized Lever Law A beam of length l is balanced on a pivot point that is placed directly beneath the center of mass of the beam. Suppose a force F acts on the beam a distance d to the right of the pivot point. A second force F acts on the beam a distance d to the left of the pivot point. The beam will remain in static equilibrium if the following two conditions are satisfied: ) The total force on the beam is zero, ) The product of the magnitude of the perpendicular component of the force with the distance to the pivot is the same for each force, d F = d F. (8.3.9),, The Generalized Lever Law can be stated in an equivalent form, d F sinθ = d F sinθ. (8.3.0) We shall now show that the generalized lever law can be reinterpreted as the statement that the vector sum of the torques about the pivot point S is zero when there are just two forces F and F acting on our beam as shown in Figure

8 Figure 8.6 Force and torque diagram. Let s choose the positive z -direction to point out of the plane of the page then torque pointing out of the page will have a positive z -component of torque (counterclockwise rotations are positive). From our definition of torque about the pivot point, the magnitude of torque due to force F is given by τ S, = df sinθ. (8.3.) From the right hand rule this is out of the page (in the counterclockwise direction) so the component of the torque is positive, hence, (τ S, ) z = d F sinθ. (8.3.) The torque due to F about the pivot point is into the page (the clockwise direction) and the component of the torque is negative and given by (τ S, ) z = d F sinθ. (8.3.3) The z -component of the torque is the sum of the z -components of the individual torques and is zero, (τ S, total ) z = (τ S, ) z + (τ S, ) z = d F sinθ d F sinθ = 0, (8.3.4) which is equivalent to the Generalized Lever Law, Equation (8.3.0), d F sinθ = d F sinθ. 8.4 Worked Examples Example 8. Suspended Rod A uniform rod of length l =.0 m and mass m = 4.0 kg is hinged to a wall at one end and suspended from the wall by a cable that is attached to the other end of the rod at an 8-7

9 angle of β = 30 o to the rod (see Figure 8.7). Assume the cable has zero mass. There is a contact force at the pivot on the rod. The magnitude and direction of this force is unknown. One of the most difficult parts of these types of problems is to introduce an angle for the pivot force and then solve for that angle if possible. In this problem you will solve for the magnitude of the tension in the cable and the direction and magnitude of the pivot force. (a) What is the tension in the cable? (b) What angle does the pivot force make with the beam? (c) What is the magnitude of the pivot force? Figure 8.7 Example 8. Figure 8.8 Force and torque diagram. Solution: a) The force diagram is shown in Figure 8.8. Take the positive î -direction to be to the right in the figure above, and take the positive ĵ -direction to be vertically upward. The forces on the rod are: the gravitational force mg = m g ˆj, acting at the center of the rod; the force that the cable exerts on the rod, T = T ( cosβ î + sinβ ĵ), acting at the right end of the rod; and the pivot force F pivot = F(cosα î + sinα ĵ), acting at the left end of the rod. If 0 < α < π /, the pivot force is directed up and to the right in the figure. If 0 > α > π /, the pivot force is directed down and to the right. We have no reason, at this point, to expect that α will be in either of the quadrants, but it must be in one or the other. For static equilibrium, the sum of the forces must be zero, and hence the sums of the components of the forces must be zero, 0 = T cosβ + F cosα 0 = mg + T sinβ + F sinα. (8.4.) With respect to the pivot point, and taking positive torques to be counterclockwise, the gravitational force exerts a negative torque of magnitude m g(l / ) and the cable exerts a positive torque of magnitude T l sinβ. The pivot force exerts no torque about the pivot. Setting the sum of the torques equal to zero then gives 0 = T l sinβ mg(l / ) T = mg sinβ. (8.4.) 8-8

10 This result has many features we would expect; proportional to the weight of the rod and inversely proportional to the sine of the angle made by the cable with respect to the horizontal. Inserting numerical values gives T = mg sinβ = (4.0kg)(9.8m s ) sin30 = 39.N. (8.4.3) There are many ways to find the angle α. Substituting Eq. (8.4.) for the tension into both force equations in Eq. (8.4.) yields F cosα = T cosβ = (mg / )cot β F sinα = mg T sinβ = mg /. (8.4.4) In Eq. (8.4.4), dividing one equation by the other, we see that tanα = tan β, α = β. The horizontal forces on the rod must cancel. The tension force and the pivot force act with the same angle (but in opposite horizontal directions) and hence must have the same magnitude, F = T = 39.N. (8.4.5) As an alternative, if we had not done the previous parts, we could find torques about the point where the cable is attached to the wall. The cable exerts no torque about this point and the y -component of the pivot force exerts no torque as well. The moment arm of the x -component of the pivot force is l tan β and the moment arm of the weight is l /. Equating the magnitudes of these two torques gives F cosα l tan β = mg l, equivalent to the first equation in Eq. (8.4.4). Similarly, evaluating torques about the right end of the rod, the cable exerts no torques and the x -component of the pivot force exerts no torque. The moment arm of the y -component of the pivot force is l and the moment arm of the weight is l /. Equating the magnitudes of these two torques gives F sinα l = mg l, reproducing the second equation in Eq. (8.4.4). The point of this alternative solution is to show that choosing a different origin (or even more than one origin) in order to remove an unknown force from the torques equations might give a desired result more directly. 8-9

11 Example 8.3 Person Standing on a Hill A person is standing on a hill that is sloped at an angle of α with respect to the horizontal (Figure 8.9). The person s legs are separated by a distance d, with one foot uphill and one downhill. The center of mass of the person is at a distance h above the ground, perpendicular to the hillside, midway between the person s feet. Assume that the coefficient of static friction between the person s feet and the hill is sufficiently large that the person will not slip. (a) What is the magnitude of the normal force on each foot? (b) How far must the feet be apart so that the normal force on the upper foot is just zero? This is the moment when the person starts to rotate and fall over. Figure 8.9 Person standing on hill Figure 8.0 Free-body force diagram for person standing on hill Solution: The force diagram on the person is shown in Figure 8.0. Note that the contact forces have been decomposed into components perpendicular and parallel to the hillside. A choice of unit vectors and positive direction for torque is also shown. Applying Newton s Second Law to the two components of the net force, ˆ j : N cos 0 + N mg α = (8.4.6) ˆ i : f sin 0 + f mg α =. (8.4.7) These two equations imply that N + N = mg cosα (8.4.8) f + f = mg sinα. (8.4.9) Evaluating torques about the center of mass, h( f + f ) + (N N ) d = 0. (8.4.0) 8-0

12 Equation (8.4.0) can be rewritten as N N = h( f + f ) d Substitution of Equation (8.4.9) into Equation (8.4.) yields. (8.4.) h( mg sin α) N N =. (8.4.) d We can solve for N by adding Equations (8.4.8) and (8.4.), and then dividing by, yielding h( mg sin α) h N = mg cosα + = mg cosα + sinα d d. (8.4.3) Similarly, we can solve for N by subtracting Equation (8.4.) from Equation (8.4.8) and dividing by, yielding h N = mg cos α sin α d. (8.4.4) The normal force N as given in Equation (8.4.4) vanishes when h cos α = sin α, (8.4.5) d which can be solved for the minimum distance between the legs, d = h(tan α). (8.4.6) It should be noted that no specific model for the frictional force was used, that is, no coefficient of static friction entered the problem. The two frictional forces f and f were not determined separately; only their sum entered the above calculations. Example 8.4 The Knee A man of mass m = 70kg is about to start a race. Assume the runner s weight is equally distributed on both legs. The patellar ligament in the knee is attached to the upper tibia and runs over the kneecap. When the knee is bent, a tensile force, T, that the ligament exerts on the upper tibia, is directed at an angle of θ = 40 with respect to the horizontal. The femur exerts a force F on the upper tibia. The angle, α, that this force makes with the vertical will vary and is one of the unknowns to solve for. Assume that the ligament is connected a distance, d = 3.8cm, directly below the contact point of the femur on the 8-

13 tibia. The contact point between the foot and the ground is a distance s = cm from the vertical line passing through contact point of the femur on the tibia. The center of mass of the lower leg lies a distance x =.8 0 cm from this same vertical line. Suppose the mass ml of the lower leg is a /0 of the mass of the body (Figure 8.). (a) Find the magnitude T of the force T of the patellar ligament on the tibia. (b) Find the direction (the angle α ) of the force F of the femur on the tibia. (c) Find the magnitude F of the force F of the femur on the tibia. Figure 8. Example 8.4 Figure 8. Torque-force diagram for knee Solutions: a) Choose the unit vector î to be directed horizontally to the right and ĵ directed vertically upwards. The first condition for static equilibrium, Eq. (8..), that the sum of the forces is zero becomes î : F sinα + T cosθ = 0. (8.4.7) ĵ : N F cosα + T sinθ ( / 0)mg = 0. (8.4.8) Because the weight is evenly distributed on the two feet, the normal force on one foot is equal to half the weight, or N = ( / )mg ; (8.4.9) Equation (8.4.8) becomes ĵ : ( / )mg F cosα + T sinθ ( / 0)mg = 0 ( / 5)mg F cosα + T sinθ = 0.. (8.4.0) 8-

14 The torque-force diagram on the knee is shown in Figure 8.. Choose the point of action of the ligament on the tibia as the point S about which to compute torques. Note that the tensile force, T, that the ligament exerts on the upper tibia will make no contribution to the torque about this point S. This may help slightly in doing the calculations. Choose counterclockwise as the positive direction for the torque; this is the positive ˆk - direction. Then the torque due to the force F of the femur on the tibia is τ S, = r S, F = d ĵ ( F sinα î F cosαĵ) = d F sinα ˆk. (8.4.) The torque due to the mass of the leg is τ S, = r S, ( mg / 0) ĵ = ( x î y L ĵ) ( mg / 0) ĵ = ( / 0)x mg ˆk. (8.4.) The torque due to the normal force of the ground is τ S,3 = r S,3 N ĵ = ( s î y ĵ) N ĵ = s N ˆk = ( / )s mg ˆk. (8.4.3) N (In Equations (8.4.) and (8.4.3), y L and y N are the vertical displacements of the point where the weight of the leg and the normal force with respect to the point S ; as can be seen, these quantities do not enter directly into the calculations.) The condition that the sum of the torques about the point S vanishes, Eq. (8..), becomes τ S, total = τ S, + τ S, + τ S,3 = 0, (8.4.4) d F sinα ˆk + (/ 0)x mg ˆk (/ )s mg ˆk = 0. (8.4.5) The three equations in the three unknowns are summarized below: F sinα + T cosθ = 0 ( / 5)mg F cosα + T sinθ = 0 d F sinα + ( / 0)x mg ( / )s mg = 0. (8.4.6) The horizontal force equation, the first in (8.4.6), implies that F sinα = T cosθ. (8.4.7) Substituting this into the torque equation, the third equation of (8.4.6), yields d T cosθ + ( / 0)x mg s( / )mg = 0. (8.4.8) 8-3

15 Note that Equation (8.4.8) is the equation that would have been obtained if we had chosen the contact point between the tibia and the femur as the point about which to determine torques. Had we chosen this point, we would have saved one minor algebraic step. We can solve this Equation (8.4.8) for the magnitude T of the force T of the patellar ligament on the tibia, T = s(/ )mg (/ 0)x mg d cosθ. (8.4.9) Inserting numerical values into Equation (8.4.9), T = (70kg)(9.8m s ) (3.6 0 m)(/) (/0)(.8 0 m) (3.8 0 m)cos(40 ) = N. (8.4.30) b) We can now solve for the direction α of the force F of the femur on the tibia as follows. Rewrite the two force equations in (8.4.6) as F cosα = ( / 5)mg + T sinθ F sinα = T cosθ. (8.4.3) Dividing these equations yields And so F cosα F sinα = cotanα = ( / 5)mg + T sinθ T cosθ, (8.4.3) ( / 5)mg + T sinθ α = cotan T cosθ (8.4.33) ( / 5)(70kg)(9.8m s ) + ( N)sin(40 ) α = cotan ( N)cos(40 ) = 47. c) We can now use the horizontal force equation to calculate the magnitude F of the force of the femur F on the tibia from Equation (8.4.7), F = ( N)cos(40 ) sin(47 ) = N. (8.4.34) Note you can find a symbolic expression for α that did not involve the intermediate numerical calculation of the tension. This is rather complicated algebraically; basically, the last two equations in (8.4.6) are solved for F and T in terms of α, θ and the 8-4

16 other variables (Cramer s Rule is suggested) and the results substituted into the first of (8.4.6). The resulting expression is cotα = (s / x / 0)sin(40 ) + ((d / 5)cos(40 )) (s / x / 0)cos(40 ) = tan(40 ) + d / 5 s / x / 0 (8.4.35) which leads to the same numerical result, α =

17 Appendix 8A The Torques About Any Two Points are Equal for a Body in Static Equilibrium When the net force on a body is zero, the torques about any two points are equal. To show this, consider any two points A and B. Choose a coordinate system with origin O and denote the constant vector from A to B by r A, B. Suppose a force F i is acting at the point r O,i. The vector from the point A to the point where the force acts is denoted by r A, i, and the vectors from the point B to the point where the force acts is denoted by r B, i. Figure 8A. Location of body i with respect to the points A and B. In Figure 8A., the position vectors satisfy r A, i = r A, B + r B, i. (8.A.) The sum of the torques about the point A is given by τ A = The sum of the torques about the point B is given by τ B = i=n r A,i F i. (8.A.) i= i=n r B,i F i. (8.A.3) We can now substitute Equation (8.A.) into Equation (8.A.) and find that τ A = i= i= N r A, i F i= N i = ( r A, B + r B, i ) F i= N i = r A, B F i= N i + r B, i F i. (8.A.4) i= In the next-to-last term in Equation (8.A.4), the vector r A, B taken outside the summation, i= i= i= is constant and so may be 8-6

18 r F = r F. (8.A.5) i= N i= N A, B i A, B i i= i= We are assuming that there is no net force on the body, and so the sum of the forces on the body is zero, i=n F i = 0. (8.A.6) Therefore the torque about point A, Equation (8.A.), becomes τ A = i= i=n r B,i F i = τ B. (8.A.7) i= For static equilibrium problems, the result of Equation (8.A.7) tells us that it does not matter which point we use to determine torques. In fact, note that the position of the chosen origin did not affect the result at all. Choosing the point about which to calculate torques (variously called A, B, S or sometimes O ) so that unknown forces do not exert torques about that point may often greatly simplify calculations. 8-7

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