Physics Lesson 6.1.2 - How to Determine the Centre of Mass in Objects?

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Welcome to our Physics lesson on How to Determine the Centre of Mass in Objects?, this is the second 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.

How to Determine the Centre of Mass in Objects?

There are three basic methods to determine the centre of mass in objects. They depend on the shape and physical properties of the objects.

1. In regularly shaped and homogenous objects (i.e. in objects made from the same material), centre of mass is determined by geometrical methods. Thus, from geometry, it is known that there are seven types of regular objects. They are:

a Cube

Its centre of gravity is at the intersection point of diagonals as shown below:

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b. Cuboid

Its centre of gravity is determined by using the same method as for the cube.

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c. Prism

For illustration, let's take a regular triangular prism. Its centre of mass is at the midpoint of the segment passing through the median intercepts of the two bases.

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d. Pyramid

Its centre of mass is at the segment that connects the upper vertex and the base centre. This segment represents the height of pyramid. Thus, centre of mass is at 1/3 of height starting from the ground.

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e. Cylinder

Again, like in prisms, centre of mass in a cylinder is the midpoint of the segment that connects the centres of the two bases.

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f. Cone

Its centre of mass is determined in a similar way as for pyramid, i.e. at 1/3 of the height starting from the ground.

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g. Sphere

The centre of gravity of a sphere is at its geometrical centre.

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2. In the irregularly shaped objects, the centre of gravity is determined by hanging them at two different points and then finding the intercept of the two string extensions as discussed earlier.

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3. When the objects are not homogenous, mathematical methods are used to determine the centre of mass. We will discuss more extensively about these methods in the next tutorial.

You have reached the end of Physics lesson 6.1.2 How to Determine the Centre of Mass in Objects?. 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

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