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Non-Central Forces in N-body Problems?

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  1. Oct 27, 2015 #1
    For a 2-body system that is not under the influence of an external force, the forces on each body (assumed to be point particles) always point to the center of mass the 2-body system.

    Does this still hold for general N-body problems, where N>2? Specifically, does the net force on each body point to the center of mass of the N-body system?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 27, 2015 #2

    A.T.

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    No.
     
  4. Oct 27, 2015 #3
    Thanks A.T. - is there a classical counterexample?
     
  5. Oct 28, 2015 #4

    A.T.

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    As posed, your assertion isn`t even true for all 2 particle systems. Two equal charges can have net forces away from the common COM, not towards it. For gravity consider 3 equal masses, two of which are very close together, the thrid one very far away.
     
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