1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data Consider a system of two blocks that have masses m_1 and m_2. Assume that the blocks are point-like particles and are located along the x axis at the coordinates x_1 and x_2. In this problem, the blocks can only move along the x axis. Find the x coordinate of the center of mass of the system. 2. Relevant equations The solution is ( [tex]\((m1x1 + m2x2)/(m1 + m2)[/tex], but I cannot for the life of me understand why this is exactly. Why multiply the mass by the x-coordinate of its location? 3. The attempt at a solution
Are you questioning the definition of center of mass? Maybe this brief discussion will help: Center of Mass
What I don't understand is the algebra of arriving at that equation, and thanks for that link, Doc Al, I'm looking over it now
Well the thing is that the definition is purley mathametical, and trying to explain it in words are just secondary. The definition of center of mass is the formulas that is posted on that link.
great that we could help you. But dont you own a book for the course? This is standard mechancs #1 :P
You can think of it (loosely) as the weighted average position of the mass in a system. Not just the average. A part of the system with twice the mass (as some other part) gets counted twice (compared to that other part).