Monday, September 15, 2008

The Law of the Lever

The weight and balance problems are based on the physical law of the lever. This law states that a lever is balanced when the weight on one side of the fulcrum multiplied by its arm is equal to the weight on the opposite side multiplied by its arm. In other words, the lever is balanced when the algebraic sum of the moments about the fulcrum is zero. [Figure 2-2] This is the condition in which the positive moments (those that try to rotate the lever clockwise) are equal to the negative moments (those that try to rotate it counter-clockwise).

Consider these facts about the lever in Figure 2-2: The 100-pound weight A is located 50 inches to the left of the fulcrum (the datum, in this instance), and it has a moment of 100 X-50 = -5,000 in-lb. The 200-pound weight B is located 25 inches to the right of the fulcrum, and its moment is 200 x +25 = +5000 in-lb. The sum of the moment is -5000 + 5000 = 0, and the lever is balanced. [Figure 2-3] The forces that try to rotate it clockwise have the same magnitude as those that try to rotate it counterclockwise.

1 comment:

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