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Center Of Mass Help

  1. Dec 21, 2011 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    1. Find of the center of mass of the image below.

    2. A human head weighs 8lbs, a human torso weighs 20lbs, and a human's hips and legs weighs 20lb. The headis 10m long, the torso is 25m long, and the hips and legs are 35m long. Find the center of mass of the body.

    2. Relevant equations
    X = Ʃ(m1x1...) / Ʃ(m1...)
    Y = Ʃ(m1y1...) / Ʃ(m1...)

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Sorry I couldn't find a clear example. I have two different methods given to solve these problems, so I wouldlike clarification.

    1. X = (2kg)(2m) + (.5kg)(5m) / (2kg + .5kg) = 2.6m
    Y = (2kg)(2m) + (.5kg)(1m) / (2kg + .5kg) = 1.8m
    So this one took the problems into point masses. Then solved for them.

    X1= (2kg)(0m) + (2kg)(4m) / (2kg + 2kg) = 2m
    Y1 = (2kg)(0m) + (2kg)(4m) / (2kg + 2kg) = 2m
    X2 = (.5kg)(4m) + (.5kg)(6m) / (.5kg + .5kg) = 5m
    Y2 = (.5kg)(0m) + (.5kg)(2m) / (.5kg + .5kg) = 1m

    2. X = (8lb)(10m) + (20lb)(25m) + (20lb)(35m) / (8lb + 20lb + 20lb) = 26.6m

    Why does it just use the lengths instead of combining them, or even taking the half-way point? Maybe I misinterpretted the problem? I assumed this at first.

    X = (8lb)(5m) + (20lb)(17.5m) + (20lb)(52.5m) / (48lb) = 30m
    But I guess those shapes can't be divided perfetcly in half. But why is it not
    X = (8lb)(10m) + (20lb)(35m) + (20lb)(70m) / (48lb) = 45m
    This clearly is too big to be logical.

    Could someone explain this? Or link me to some CoM problems that aren't using point masses. I think thepoint masses are sort of self-explanatory, but I can't find good examples otherwise.

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 21, 2011 #2


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    Homework Helper

    You get the centre of mass by multiplying the mass of a piece with the distance of the CM of that piece from a reference point. As nothing has been specified about the shape of the pieces you can asume that their CM is at the middle. If you measure the distance from the head-top of the human,

    X = (8lb)(5m) + (20lb)(17.5m) + (20lb)(52.5m) / (48lb) = 30m

    is correct, but it means the distance from the same reference point.

    By the way, what unit is "m"?
  4. Dec 22, 2011 #3
    meter, but clearly that was wrong. It was probably inches lol.

    So the answer page that has the solution above should just be ignored? I mean it also seems like a plausible answer. The math just doesn't make sense.
  5. Dec 22, 2011 #4


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  6. Dec 22, 2011 #5
    Why is it 17.5 and nor 22.5 ??
  7. Dec 22, 2011 #6


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    You are right, it was a mistake. So X=(8lb)(5m) + (20lb)(22.5m) + (20lb)(52.5m) / (48lb) = 32m

  8. Dec 23, 2011 #7
    Ok thanks. That math makes alot more sense then the given answer.
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