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Equilibrium Concurrent Force Systems

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Chapter 3 Equilibrium Concurrent Force Systems

Particle A large or small body can be considered as a particle when the size or shape

of the body has no effect on the response of the body when subjected to a system of

forces. Under these conditions, the mass (inertia) of the body can be assumed to be

concentrated at a point.

Recall:

Newtons First Law

R = F = 0

The above equation is a sufficient condition for the equilibrium of a particle.

R = F = 0

Newtons Second Law

F = ma

Therefore for equilibrium to exist:

a=0

Equilibrium of a particle in 3D

R = Rx + Ry + Rz = 0

R = Rx i + Ry j + Rz k = 0

R = Fx i + Fy j + Fz k = 0

Rx = Rx i = Fx i = 0 Fx = 0

Ry = Ry j = Fy j = 0 Fy = 0

Rz = Rz k = Fz k = 0 Fz = 0

22

OPTI 221 Mechanical Design in Optical Engineering

The scalar equations of equilibrium require that the algebraic sum of the x, y and z

components of all the forces acting on the particle be equal to zero. Since we have

three equations, these simultaneous equations can be solved for at most three

unknowns: angles and/or magnitudes of forces shown on the free body diagram (FBD).

In the scalar notation: each of the three scalar equations for equilibrium requires the

resolution of vector components along a specified x, y or z axis. The sense of direction

for each component is accounted for by an algebraic sign. If a force has an unknown

magnitude, then the arrowhead sense of the force on the FBD can be assumed. If the

solution yields a negative scalar, this indicates that the sense of the force acts in the

opposite direction.

force will form a closed loop.

The above is only possible with a complete and accurate free body diagram (FBD). The

FBD is the road map for writing the equations of equilibrium. Most engineers consider

a FBD to be the single most important tool for the solution of mechanics problems.

Note: Because an object is in static equilibrium does not imply it is stable. A system

may be in stable or unstable equilibrium.

Step 1. Determine which body or combination of bodies is to be isolated. The body

chosen will usually involve one or more of the desired unknown quantities.

Step 2. Next, isolate the body or combination of bodies chosen with a diagram that

represents its complete external boundaries.

Step 3. Represent all forces that act on the isolated body as applied by the removed

contacting bodies in their proper positions in the diagram of the isolated body. Do not

show the forces that the object exerts on anything else, since these forces do not affect

the object itself.

Step 4. Indicate the choice of coordinate axes directly on the diagram. Pertinent

dimensions may also be represented for convenience. Note, however, that the free-

body diagram serves the purpose of focusing accurate attention on the action of the

external forces; therefore, the diagram should not be cluttered with excessive

information. Force arrows should be clearly distinguished from other arrows to avoid

confusion.

When these steps are completed a correct free-body diagram will result. Now, the

appropriate equations of equilibrium may be utilized to find the proper solution.

23

OPTI 221 Mechanical Design in Optical Engineering

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