Physics Lesson 6.1.6 - The Importance of Centre of Mass in Physics

Welcome to our Physics lesson on The Importance of Centre of Mass in Physics, this is the sixth lesson of our suite of physics lessons covering the topic of Centre of Mass. Types of Equilibrium, you can find links to the other lessons within this tutorial and access additional physics learning resources below this lesson.

The Importance of Centre of Mass in Physics

There are a lot of applications of centre of mass concept in physics. Below are mentioned a few of them.

a. In motion

If a moving object combines both linear and circular motion at the same time, we obtain different results for displacement depending on where we start measuring the values. Look at the figure in which a bus is shown from above.

It is not difficult to observe that if we measure the displacement starting from the front part of the bus (path 1), we will get a smaller value than if displacement is measured starting from rear of the bus (path 2). Furthermore, the direction is also different. Therefore, to avoid such problems, we must calculate the displacement of an object considering the initial and final position of its centre of mass as shown below.

Hence, the arrow shown by Δr, whose tip and tail are both at the centre of mass of the object, represents the correct displacement of the bus.

b. In collisions

A head to head collision occurs when two objects collide in the direction of their respective centres of gravity. As a result, after the collision, objects will move in the opposite direction as before as shown below.

But if the collision does not occur in the direction of objects' centre of gravity, they will move in different directions after the collision, as shown below.

You have reached the end of Physics lesson 6.1.6 The Importance of Centre of Mass in Physics. There are 6 lessons in this physics tutorial covering Centre of Mass. Types of Equilibrium, you can access all the lessons from this tutorial below.

More Centre of Mass. Types of Equilibrium Lessons and Learning Resources

Centre of Mass and Linear Momentum Learning Material
Tutorial IDPhysics Tutorial TitleTutorialVideo
Tutorial
Revision
Notes
Revision
Questions
6.1Centre of Mass. Types of Equilibrium
Lesson IDPhysics Lesson TitleLessonVideo
Lesson
6.1.1What is Centre of Mass?
6.1.2How to Determine the Centre of Mass in Objects?
6.1.3Types of Equilibrium
6.1.4When Does an Object Start Falling Sideways?
6.1.5More Stable and Less Stable within Neutral
6.1.6The Importance of Centre of Mass in Physics

Whats next?

Enjoy the "The Importance of Centre of Mass in Physics" physics lesson? People who liked the "Centre of Mass. Types of Equilibrium lesson found the following resources useful:

1. Importance Feedback. Helps other - Leave a rating for this importance (see below)
2. Centre of Mass and Linear Momentum Physics tutorial: Centre of Mass. Types of Equilibrium. Read the Centre of Mass. Types of Equilibrium physics tutorial and build your physics knowledge of Centre of Mass and Linear Momentum
3. Centre of Mass and Linear Momentum Revision Notes: Centre of Mass. Types of Equilibrium. Print the notes so you can revise the key points covered in the physics tutorial for Centre of Mass. Types of Equilibrium
4. Centre of Mass and Linear Momentum Practice Questions: Centre of Mass. Types of Equilibrium. Test and improve your knowledge of Centre of Mass. Types of Equilibrium with example questins and answers
5. Check your calculations for Centre of Mass and Linear Momentum questions with our excellent Centre of Mass and Linear Momentum calculators which contain full equations and calculations clearly displayed line by line. See the Centre of Mass and Linear Momentum Calculators by iCalculator™ below.
6. Continuing learning centre of mass and linear momentum - read our next physics tutorial: Determining the Centre of Mass in Objects and Systems of Objects