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Homework Help: What does it mean to find the centroid of a shape?

  1. Feb 6, 2016 #1

    I am currently studying how to find the centroid of shapes. And I understand that to find the location of the centroid, we must analyze the distribution of the mass over the x and y axis (i.e calculating Qx and Qy).

    However what baffles me is that, given an L shaped beam, the centroid does not necessary need to lie on the mass itself? I thought the centroid was the location where all the mass is concentrated.

    How does it make sense that , say the force of gravity, acts outside the shape?

    Thank you !
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 6, 2016 #2


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    Yep, for some shapes, the centroid will lie outside the boundaries of the shape.

    The centroid is not the point where all the mass is concentrated; it is the point through which all the resultant forces of gravity acting on each particle will act.
    The centroid can be thought of as a "balance point" for the object.

  4. Feb 6, 2016 #3
    Thank you very much for the attached presentation! It is so well done.
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