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PHYSICS

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1

PHYSICS L O C U S 1 INTRODUCTION: So far we have treated objects as if

INTRODUCTION:

So far we have treated objects as if they were particles, having mass but no size. In translation motion each point on a body experiences the same displacement as any other point as time goes on, so that the motion of one particle represents the motion of the whole body. But even when a body rotates or vibrates or translates while rotating, there is one point on the body, called the centre of mass, that moves in the same way that a single particle (having same mas) subject to the same external force would move. Figure 6.1 shows the simple parabolic motion of the centre of mass

fig. 6.1
fig. 6.1

of a hammer thrown from on person to another; no other point on the hammer moves in such a simple way. Note that, if the hammer were moving in pure translation motion, shown in figure 6.2, then every point in it would experience the same displacement

fig. 6.2
fig. 6.2

as does the centre of mass in figure 6.1. For this reason the motion of the centre of mass of a body is called the translation motion of the body.

Centre of Mass

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PHYSICS LOCUS 2 When the system with which we deal is not a rigid body,
PHYSICS
LOCUS
2
When the system with which we deal is not a rigid body, a centre of mass, whose motion can also be
described in a relatively easier way, can be assigned, even though the particles that make up the system may be
changing their positions with respect to each other in a relatively complicated way as the motion proceeds. First we
will define the centre of mass and show how to calculate its position, then we will discuss the properties that make
it useful in describing the motion of extended objects or system of particles.
DEFINITION OF CENTRE OF MASS Two particle system: Consider first the simple case of a system of
two particles
m
and
m
at distances
x 1 and
x
respectively, from some origin O as shown in figure 6.3(a) . We
1
2
2
define a point C, the centre of mass of the system, at a distance x
from the orgin O, as shown in figure 6.3(b),
C.M.
where x
is defined by
C.M.
m x
+m x
11
22
x
=
C.M.
m +m
(6.1)
1
2
x
x
2
2
x
x
1
1
C
O
X
O
X
m 1
m 2
m 1
m 2
x
cm
(a)
(b)
fig. 6.3
This point has the property that the product of the total mass of the system
(= m + m
) times the distance of this
1
2
point from the origin is equal to the sum of the products of the mass of each particle by its distance from the origin;
that is,
(+)m
m
x
= mx + mx
1
2
C.M.
1
1
2
2
In equation 6.1,
x
can be regarded as the mass-weighted mean of
x 1 and
x
.
C.M.
2
An analogy might help to fix this idea. Suppose, for example, that we are given two boxes of nails. In one box we
have
n 1 nails all having the same lenght
!
; in the other box we have
n
nails all having the same length
!
. We are
1
2
2
asked to get the mean length of the nails. If
n
= n
, the mean length is simply (
!
+ !
)
2. But if
n
≠ n
,
we must
1
2
1
2
1
2
allow for the fact that there are more nails of one length than another by a “weighting” factor of each length. For
!
1
n
n
1
2
,
this factor is
and for
!
this factor is
the fraction of the total number of nails in each box. Then the
n
+ n
2
n
+ n
1
2
1
2
weighted-mean length is
n

n
1
2
!!
=
+
!

1
2
nn +
nn +

12
12
n
!
+ !
n
11
2
2
! =
or
n
+ n
1
2
[Note that when we put
n
= n
in the above euqation, we get
l = (ll+
)2]
1
2
1
2
The centre of mass, defined in equation 6.1, is then a weighted-mean displacement where the “weighting” factor for
Centre of Mass
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PHYSICS

LOCUS

3

each particle is the fraction of the total mass that each particle has. Suppose, for
each particle is the fraction of the total mass that each particle has.
Suppose, for an example, that
m
= 0. Then there is only one particle, of mass
m 1 , and the centre of mass must lie
2
at the position of that particle. Same arguement can be given for the case when
m 1 = 0. If m
= m
then centre of
1
2
mass of this two particle system should be at the mid-point of
x 1 and
x
. Suppose
m 1 is much greater than
m
. In
2
2
such a case, centre of mass should lie very close to
locate the centre of mass of the system.
m
. All these predictions come true if you use equation (6.1) to
1
,
particles relative to some origin is
If we have n particles,
mm
,
,
m
along a straight line, by definition then centre of mass of these
n ,
1
2
= 11
x C.M.
mm
+
+
+
m
1
2
n
n
m x
i
i
i =1
x
=
C.M.
n
(6.2)
m
i
i =1
where xx ,
,
,
x
are the positions of the masses relative to the same origin. The sum
1
2
n
n
m
= M
i
i = 1
is the total mass of the system. We can rewrite equation 6.2 in the form
n
=
m x
Mx C.M.
i
i
(6.3)
i =1
If two particles of masses
m 1 and
m
are separated by a distance d, as shown in figure 6.4(a), find the distance of
2
the centre of mass of particles from each particle.
d
m 1
m
2
fig. 6.4(a)
Solution: Let us assume that
shown in figure 6.4(b).
m 1 and
m
lies on the x-axis and their positions are
x 1 and
x
, respectively, as
2
2

Centre of Mass

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mx

+ mx

22

+

+

mx

n

n

PHYSICS LOCUS 4 d x 2 x 1 C fig. 6.4(b) O X m 1
PHYSICS
LOCUS
4
d
x
2
x
1
C
fig. 6.4(b)
O
X
m 1
m 2
x
cm
d
d 2
1
As the particles
m 1 and
m
lie on the x-axis, their centre of mass must lie on the line segment joining them, i.e., the
2
portion of the x-axis intercepted between
m 1 and
m
. Hence, we can assume that the centre of mass of
m 1 and
m
2
2
also lies on the x-axis at some point C, as shown in figure 6.4(b).
If x
be the position of the point C and d be the distance between
m 1 and
m
,
then we have
C.M .
2
dx=
− x
(i)
2
1
mx
mx
+ 2
11
2
x
=
and
(ii)
[Using equation 6.1]
C M
.
.
m
+ m
1
2
If
d 1 be the distance between C and
m 1 and
d
be the distance between C and
m
, then, from figure 6.4(b), we
2
2
have,
dx=
− x
1
C
M
1
mx
+
mx
11
2
2
=
− x
[Using (ii)]
1
m
+
m
1
2
mx(
x )
22
1
=
m 1 m
+
2
d
d 1 =m
2
[Using (i)]
(6.4)
m
+m
1
2
and
d
= xx−
2
2
C M
mx
mx
+ 2
11
2
=
x
[Using (ii)]
2
m
+ m
1
2
mx(
x )
12
1
=
m 1 m
+
2
d
d
=m
2
1
[Using (i)
(6.5)
+m
m 1 2
ALTERNATE METHOD:
Centre of Mass
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PHYSICS LOCUS 5 Let us assume that the line joining the positions of d m
PHYSICS
LOCUS
5
Let us assume that the line joining the positions of
d
m 1 and
m
is x-axis and choose centre of mass
2
X
of
m 1 and
m
as the origin, as shown in figure
c
m 1
m 2
2
(origin)
6.4(c). If
d 1 and
d
be the distances of
m 1 and
2
m
from their centre of mass, respectively, then,
d
d 2
2
1
their position
x
and
x
, respectively, can be
1
2
written as
fig. 6.4(c)
x
= −d
and
x
= +d
.
1
1
2
2
Using equation 6.1, we have
mx
mx
+ 2
11
2
x
=
cm
m
1 + m
2
mx + xmx
= 0
[Since
x
=
0
]
11
2
2
2
cm
−+md
md
= 0
11
2
2
md =md
11
22
d 1 m
= 2
d
m
2
1
d
m
1
2
=
dd +
mm +
12
1
2
d
d
= m
]
1
2
[ ∵
ddd=
+
m
+
m
1
2
1
2
Similarly,
d
d
= m
2
1
m
m 1 +
2
NOTE:
*
you should notice that the product of mass of a particle and its distance from the centre of mass is constant.
If a particle of mass m is at a distance d from the centre of mass, then,
md = constant
(6.6)
1
or, we can say
d ∝
i
m
Centre of Mass
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PHYSICS LOCUS 6 Suppose you have three point masses m , m and m 1
PHYSICS
LOCUS
6
Suppose you have three point masses
m
, m
and
m 1
1
2
m as shown in figure 6.5(a). Suggest some
method to predict the approximate location of the
centre of mass of these three particles. [In the next
section you will learn methods to locate the exact
position of the centre of mass of such systems.]
3
m 2
m 3
fig. 6.5(a)
Solution: (READ ONLY AFTER GIVING SOME HONEST ATTEMPTS ON YOUR OWN).
Let us first consider only
m 1 and
m
. The centre of mass
2
d 1
m
of the system consisting of
m 1 and
m
only would be at
1
2
some position between the positions of
m
and
m
on the
1
2
d
line joining
m 1 and
m
, as shown in figure 6.5(b). Once
2
You should choose
C'
2
position of the centre of mass of this system is known,
entire mass of the system can be assumed to be
concentrated at this position.Hence, we can assume that
C
in a way such
d
m
1
2
that
=
d
m
2
1
mass ‘
m
+ m
’ is concentrated at the point C’.
m
2
1
2
fig. 6.5(b)
When we consider
m 1 and
m
concentrated at C '. the given three particle system reduces to a two
2
particle system, as shown in figure 6.5(c). Now, using the same approach we can find the position of the centre of
C ′
C ′
(m
+ m
)
(m
+ m
)
1
2
1
2
m 3
1
1
=
m +
m 2
2
1
C
1
m
3
m
3
2
fig. 6.5(c)
fig. 6.5(d)
mass of this two point mass system, as shown in figure 6.5(d). Hence, point C is the centre of mass of the given three
point mass sytem.
DEFINITION OF CENTRE OF MASS FOR A MORE THAN TWO PARTICLE SYSTEM (NON
COLLINEAR):
Y
m
suppose now that we have three particles not in a
straight line; they will lie in a plane, as shown in
figure 6.6. The centre of mass C is defined and
y
1
1
y
C
cm
located by its coordinates x
and
y
,
where
cm
cm
m
y
3
3
mx
+
mx
+
mm
m
y
2
11
22
3
3
2
x
=
cm
mmm
+
+
123
X
x 2
x 1
x 3
x cm
fig. 6.6
Centre of Mass
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PHYSICS LOCUS 7 m y + m y + m y 11 22 33 y
PHYSICS
LOCUS
7
m
y
+
m
y
+
m
y
11
22
33
y
=
and
cm
mmm
+
+
123
in which
x , y
are coordinates of the particle of mass
mx;
, y
are those of
m
;
and x , y
are those of m . The
1
1
12
2
2
3
3
3
coordinates
x
,
y
of the centre of mass are measured from the same arbitrary origin. For a large number of
cm
cm
particles lying in a plane, the centre of mass is at
x
,
y
where
xm
cm
Σ m x
1
i
x i
=
=
Σ
mx
cm
i
i
(6.7a)
Σ m
M
i
Σ m y
1
i
i
y =
=
Σ
m y
and
(6.7b)
cm
i
i
Σ m
M
i
where
M
(
= Σm
)
is the total mass of the system.
i
For a large number of particles not necessarily confined to a plane but distributed in space, the centre of mass is at
xyz
,,,
where
cm
cm
cm
Σ m z
1
i
i
z
=
=
Σ
mz
cm
i
i
(6.7c)
Σ m
M
i
The three scalar equations (6.7a, b, c) can be replaced by a single vector equation
1
r $
Σ
mr $
cm
i
i
(6.8)
M
$
in which the sum,
Σm r
, is a vector sum.
i
i
[Note: In equation (6.8) you should notice that if the origin of our reference frame is at the centre of mass (which
$
$
$
$
means that
r
= 0
), then
Σm r = 0
for the system.]
cm
i
i
Equation (6.8) is the most general case for a collection of particles. Previous equations are just special instances of
this one. The location of the centre of mass is independent of the reference frame used to locate it (see
example 1). The centre of mass of a system of particles depends only on the mass of the particles and the
positions of the particles relative to one another.
m
3
Locate the centre of mass of three particles of
mass
m 1 = 1.0 kg, m
= 2.0 kg, and m = 3.0 kg
2
3
1.0 m
1.0 m
at the corners of an equilateral triangle 1.0 m on a
side, as shown in figure 6.7(a).
fig. 6.7(a)
m
m
1
2
1.0 m
Centre of Mass
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PHYSICS

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8

Solution: Let us choose the x-axis along one side of the triangle and the origin
Solution: Let us choose the x-axis along one side
of the triangle and the origin at the positon of one
of the particles; as shown in fgure 6.7(b), then,
Y
m
3
Σ m x
cm Σ m
y
cm
i
m
1
m
x 3 X
2
x cm
=
mmm
+
+
fig. 6.7(b)
123
(1.0
kg
)(0
m
)
++
(2.0
kg
)(1.0
m
)
(3.0
kg
)(1.0
m
.cos 60 ° )
=
(1.0
kg
+ 2.0
kg
+
3.0
kg
)
7
=
m .
12
=
mmm
+
+
i
123
)(0
=
(1.0
kg
+ 2.0
kg
+
3.0
kg
)
=
m .
4
NOTE:
!
r
cm
$
$
Σ m r
• You could also use the result
i
i
to locate C.
r cm
= Σ m
i
• You should notice that C is not coinciding with the geometrical centre of the triangle. Why is it not at the
geometrical centre of the triangle?
Therefore, in this case C concides with
3
3
the geometrical centre of the triangle.
CENTER OF MASS OF EXTENDED BODIES: A rigid body, such as a meter stick, can be thought of as a
system of closely packed particles. Hence it also has a centre of mass. The number of particles in the body is so
large and their spacing is so small that we can treat the body as it has continuous distribution of mass. To obtain
the expression for the centre of mass of a continuous body, let us divide the body into an infinite number of infinitesimal
mass elements.
Y
Such an element of a body of mass M is shown in
figure 6.8. The coordinates of the centre of mass can
now be given precisely as
dm
M
y
dm x
1
1
x
=
=⋅
X
x dm ,
cm
(6.9)(a)
O x
∫ dm
M
fig. 6.8
r !

Centre of Mass

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x

=

i

i

mx

11

+

mx

2

2

+

mx

33

=

Σ m y

i

i

my

11

+

my

2

2

+

my

33

and

y

cm Σ m

(1.0

kg

m

)

++

m

(2.0

kg

)(1.0

)

(1.0 kg m ) ++ m (2.0 kg )(1.0 ) (3.0 kg )(1.0 m .sin 60
(1.0 kg m ) ++ m (2.0 kg )(1.0 ) (3.0 kg )(1.0 m .sin 60
(1.0 kg m ) ++ m (2.0 kg )(1.0 ) (3.0 kg )(1.0 m .sin 60
(1.0 kg m ) ++ m (2.0 kg )(1.0 ) (3.0 kg )(1.0 m .sin 60
(1.0 kg m ) ++ m (2.0 kg )(1.0 ) (3.0 kg )(1.0 m .sin 60

(3.0

kg

)(1.0

m

.sin 60 ° )

If mmm=

=

123

, then,

x

cm

=

xxx

123

+

+

and

y

cm

=

yyy

123 .

+

+

PHYSICS LOCUS 9 ∫ dm ⋅ y 1 y = =⋅ ∫ y dm ,
PHYSICS
LOCUS
9
∫ dm
y
1
y
=
=⋅
y
dm ,
cm
(6.9)(b)
dm
M
∫ dm
z
1
z
=
=⋅
z
dm ,
cm
(6.9)(c)
dm
M
In these expressions dm is the mass of the element at the point xyz,
the body.
,
and
dm
equals M, where M is the mass of
The above three scalar equations (6.9 a, b, c) can be reduced to the vector equation
$
1
r
=
r $ dm
cm
(6.10)
M
$
$
$
$
Once again we see that if origin of our reference frame is at the centre of mass (that is , if
for the body.
r
= 0
), the
r ⋅ dm = 0
cm
NOTE:
Often we deal with homogeneous objects having a point, a line, or a plane of sysmmetry. Then the centre of mass lie
at the point, on the line, or in the plane of symmetry. For example, the centre of mass of a homogenous sphere
(which has a point of symmetry) will be at the centre of the sphere, the centre of mass of a homogeneous cone
(which has a line of symmetry) will be on the axis of the cone, etc. We can understand that this is so because, from
$
symmetry
∫ r ⋅ dm
is zero at the centre of a sphere, somewhere on the axis of a cone, etc. It follows from equation
$
(6.10) that
r
$ for such points which means that centre of mass is located at these points of symmetry.
= 0
cm
Find the centre of mass of the uniform triangular plate shown in figure 6.9(a).
fig. 6.9(a)
Solution: If a body can be divided into parts such that centre of mass of each part is known, the centre of mass
body can usually be found simply. The triangular plate may be divided into narrow strips parallel to one side, as
shown in figure 6.9(b). The centre of mass of each strip lies on the
mid-point of the strip because mass of each strip is distributed
symmetrically about this point. Now each strip can be replaced by
a point mass having the same mass as that of the strip and positioned
at the mid-point of the strip. centre of mass of all such point masses
is basically the centre of mass of the given triangular plate only and
obviously the lies somewhere on the line formed by joining the
mid-points of all strips, which is shown in figure 6.9(c).
fig. 6.9(b)
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PHYSICS

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10

As this line joins the mid-point of a side from the vertex opposite to the side, this line is median of the given triangle.

to the side, this line is median of the given triangle. fig. 6.9(c) fig. 6.9(d) fig.

fig. 6.9(c)

fig. 6.9(d)

fig. 6.9(e)

But we can divide the triangle in three different ways, using this process for each of the three sides. Hence, in this way we can get two more medians of the triangle, as shown in figures 6.9(d) and (e). As the centre of mass of the triangle should lie on each of the three medians, it lies at the common intersection point of the three medians, as shown

in figure 6.9(f).

C
C

fig. 6.9(f)

three medians, as shown in figure 6.9(f). C fi g . 6.9(f) If a homogeneous thin

If a homogeneous thin rod of mass m and l is given, from symmetry, we know that its centre of mass coincides with the geometrical centre (mid-point) of the rod. Prove this by calculation for the centre of mass of the rod.

Solution: Let us choose the x-axis along the length of the rod and origin at the left end of the rod, as shown in figure 6.10. A differential mass element of the rod having mass dm and length dx is also shown in the figure at a distance x from the origin.

O

dm

shown in the figure at a distance x from the origin. O dm x dx fig.

x

dx

in the figure at a distance x from the origin. O dm x dx fig. 6.10

fig. 6.10

X

Mass of the element, dm, equals to the linear mass density

element, dx. Therefore,

  

mass per unit length =

m

!

 

times the length of the

dm =

m

!

dx

If x

cm be the coordinate of the centre of mass of the rod, then

=

 

x dm

 

 

 

m

dm

 

   

0

 

dm

=⋅

dx

and

=

m

 

x

cm

= ∫ ∫

dm

 

!

 
 

!

m

!

2

2

= x dx 1

1

!

! m ! 2 2 = x ⋅ dx =× 1 1 ∫ ! = !

= !

2 .

Hence, the centre of mass of the rod lies at the mid-point of the rod.

Centre of Mass

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!

x

m

dx

!

0

!

PHYSICS

LOCUS

11

A nonuniform thin rod of length ! , placed along the x-axis, as shown in
A nonuniform thin rod of length ! , placed along the x-axis, as shown in figure 6.11(a) has a linear mass density,
λ( x), given as
λ(x) = λ + kx
0
O
X
where λ and k are positive constants.
0
fig. 6.11(a)
Find the position of the centre of mass of the rod.
Solution: First of all you should notice that in this case distribution of mass is not uniform, hence, the centre mass
will not coincide with the point of symmetry of the body and second thing which should be noticed is that mass of the
body is not given.
To calculate the position of the centre of mass, we
have selected an element of the rod having mass
dm, length dx and situated at a distance x from the
origin, as shown in figure 6.11(b). Mass of the
element,
dm
O
X
x
dx
fig. 6.11(b)
dm = (linear mass density at the position of dm)(× length of dm)
= λ(x) ⋅ dx
=+⋅(λ
kx) dx
0
If x
cm be the coordinate of the centre of mass, then
x dm
∫ ∫
dm
!
x (
λ
+
kx
)
dx
0
0
=
!
∫ (
λ
+
kx
)
dx
0
0
!
!
2
x
⋅+
dx
k
x
dx
λ 0
0
= 0
!
!
λ
dx
+
k
x
dx
0
0
0
2
3
!
k
!
λ
+
2
0
3
λ
!
+
2 k
!
2
3
0
=
=
2
k
!
3(2
λ
+ k !
)
λ
! +
0
0
2

Centre of Mass

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x

cm

=

PHYSICS LOCUS 12 NOTE: In the previous example result obtained can be rearranged to obtain
PHYSICS
LOCUS
12
NOTE:
In the previous example result obtained can be rearranged to obtain
!
3
λ
+
2 k
!
0
x
=
cm
2
3
3
λ
+
k !
0
2
!
In the above expression numerator of the term within square bracket is greater than the denominator. Hence,
x
>
.
cm
2
Locate the centre of mass of an uniform semicircular thin wire of radius r
and mass m.
Y
dm
Solution: Let us choose the reference frame such
that the origin is at the centre of the semicircle and
x-axis passes through both ends of the wire, as
shown in figure 6.12. If an element of the wire,
subtending an angle dθ, is chosen at an angular
position θ with respect to the x-axis, then, mass
of the element,
y
θ
X
O
x
fig. 6.12
mass of the wire per unit angle
angle substneded
by the element
dm =
subtended by its length on its centre

  ×
 
m
=
×
π
If the chosen element is considered to be a point mass, then position of the element can be given by
x = r cosθ
and
y = r sinθ
If x
and y
be the coordinates of the centre of mass of the wire, then,
cm
cm
x dm
x
=
cm
∫ ∫
dm
π
m
(
r
cos
θ
)
d
θ
 
π
 
0
=
m
π
r
=
cos
θ
⋅ d
θ
π
0
r
r
=
(sin
π
sin 0)
=
(0
−=
0)
0
π
π
Centre of Mass
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r

PHYSICS

 

LOCUS

13

 

y

dm

 

and

y

cm

=

=

∫ ∫

dm

π

 

sin

(

0

r

θ

)

m d

π =⋅ d

 

θ

r

π

sin

θ

θ

 
 

m

π

0

rrπ − cos θ = 0
rrπ
− cos
θ
=
0

ππ

 

(

cos

π

)(

−−

cos 0

)

  =

r

[

 

+

1

]

1

 

=

1

 

π

2

2r

 

=

 

π

NOTE:

 

From figure 6.12 it is obvious that the centre of mass should lie on the y-axis because about this line

distribution of mass is symmetric Hence,

x

cm

=

0

could be used without any calculation

 

If you perform these integrals for an uniform circular wire (with its centre coinciding with the origin) then you would get

 

x

cm

= 0

 

and

y

cm

=

0

In this case too, you could predict the result from the symmetry property of the circle about its center.

 
symmetry property of the circle about its center.   Locate the centre of mass of a

Locate the centre of mass of a homogeneous semicircular disc of radius R and mass M.

 

Solution: A semicircular disc can be subdivided into large number of semicircular ring elements, as shown in figure 6.13(a). According to result obtained in the last example, all these elemental rings have their centre of mass on the

Y

6.13(a). According to result obtained in the last example, all these elemental rings have their centre
 
X

X

R M dr Ce O x dm r
R
M
dr
Ce
O
x
dm
r

fig. 6.13(b)

X

 
 

fig. 6.13(a)

symmetrical axis of the disc (i.e., on the y-axis for chosen reference frame).

 

Now, if we replace all these elemental rings by points masses at their centre of mass position, then, given disc reduces to a system of large number of particles distributed on the y-axis, therefore, to locate the centre of mass of the disc, centre of mass of these particles can be found and used equivalently.

If we choose an elemental semicircular ring of radius r and thickness dr, as shown in figure 6.13 (b), then, mass of the chosen element,

Centre of Mass

dm = mass per unit area area of the element

 

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PHYSICS LOCUS 14 M = ×⋅ ( π r dr ) 2 ( π R
PHYSICS
LOCUS
14
M
=
×⋅
(
π
r
dr
)
2
(
π
R
2)
2M
=
⋅⋅
r
dr
(i)
2
R
If the centre of mass of the chosen element is at the point Ce, as shown in the same figure, then, coordinates
of Ce can be given as
x
= 0;
(ii)
2r
y
=
(iii)
π
Now, the chosen element can be treated as a point mass at the point Ce. If we consider all elemental rings
shown in figure 6.13 (a) in a similar way, then, the coordinates of the centre of mass of the given semicircular disc,
X and Y, can be obtained by using equation 6.7. Therefore,
x dm
X
=
∫ ∫
dm
= 0
[using equation (ii)]
y
dm
Y
=
and
∫ ∫
dm
2r
⋅ dm
= ∫
π
[using equation (iii)]
dm
R
2
2 M
r
⋅⋅ r
dr
2
π
R
[using equation (i)]
0
=
M
4
R
2
=
r
dr
2
π R
0
3
4
R
=
2
π R
3
4 R
=
3
π
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PHYSICS LOCUS 15 Hence, the centre of mass of the given semicircular disc lies on
PHYSICS
LOCUS
15
Hence, the centre of mass of the given semicircular disc lies on the symmetrical axis of the disc at a distance
R
of 4
from its center.
3
π
NOTE :
• Center of mass of a complete circular disc (uniform) lies at the centre of the disc.
• While choosing elements, you must take care the following :
(a)
the centre of mass of the element itself must be known .(If your chosen element is a point mass then
its centre of mass coincides with its position.)
(b)
by using simple integration techniques your element must be able to cover the entire body.
A homogeneous circular plate of radius r has a circular hole cut out with radius r/2, as shown in figure 6.14 (a). Find
the centre of mass of the plate.
r/2
r
fig. 6.14(a)
Solution: Let us choose the reference frame as shown in figure
Y
6.14 (b) and consider the following three bodies:
(a)
complete disc of radius r and mass m,
C2
C
C1
X
O
(b)
removed disc of radius r/2 and mass m removed ,
(c)
remaining disc (with a hole of radius r/2) of radius
r and mass m remaining .
fig. 6.14(b)
It is obvious from the figure 6.14 (b) that as the distribution of mass in all the three bodies is symmetrical
about the x-axis, their centre of mass lie on it only. If C, C 1 and C 2 be the centre of mass of the original disc
(before making the hole), removed disc and remaining disc, respectively, then we have,
C
≡ (r / 2, 0)
1
C
≡ (0, 0)
C
≡ (x ,0)
2
0
where x 0 is the x-coordinate of the centre of mass of the remaining disc. Now, we have to solve for x 0 .
Mass of the removed disc
m
2
m
=
× (
π
(
r
2)
)
removed
2
π
r
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PHYSICS LOCUS 16 m = 4 Mass of the remaining disc m = mm− remaining
PHYSICS
LOCUS
16
m
=
4
Mass of the remaining disc
m
=
mm−
remaining
removed
m
=
m −
4
3
=
m
4
Now, if we combine the remaining and removed discs according to their initial relative positioning, we get
the complete initial disc. Therefore, we have,
m
×x
+m
×x
remaining
remaining
removed
removed
X
=
initial
m
+m
remaining
removed
3
r
m
⋅+⋅ m
x
0
4
42
We have replaced the bodies by the
⇒ 0 =
3
m
point masses at their center of mass
 
 
m +
4
4
r
⇒ 3
x
+
=
0
0
2
r
⇒ = −
x
0
6
ALTERNATE METHOD :
The remaining body can be represented by two discs superimposed, one of mass ‘m’ and radius ‘r’ and the other
m
of mass ‘
’ and radius ‘r/2’ you are urged to solve the given problem using this method also.
4
Centre of Mass
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PHYSICS

LOCUS

17

1. Must there be mass at the centre of mass of a system? Explain. 2.

1. Must there be mass at the centre of mass of a system? Explain.

2. Must the centre of mass of a solid body be in the interior of the body? If not, give examples.

3. A system consists of two point masses M and m(< M). The centre of mass of the system is :

(a)

At the middle of m and M

(b) Nearer to M

(c)

Nearer to m

(d)

At the position of large mass.

4. Find the center-of-mass coordinates mass is uniform.

x

CM and

y

CM for the object in figure, assuming that distribution of

y 10 m 0 10 m x
y
10 m
0
10 m
x

5. Find x and y coordinates of the centre of mass of the plate shown in figure from which a square of side 2 m is cut out. Assume that the distribution of mass is uniform.

cut out. Assume that the distribution of mass is uniform. Y 6m 2m 6m 2m 0

Y

6m 2m 6m 2m 0
6m
2m
6m
2m
0

X

the distribution of mass is uniform. Y 6m 2m 6m 2m 0 X 6. Three identical

6. Three identical spheres each of radius R are placed touching each other on a horizontal table as shown in figure. The x and y coordinates of the centre of mass are:

(a)

(R, R)

 

(b) (0, 0)

(c)

R

  2

R

,

2

(d)

 

R

R  , 3   .
R
,
3
  .
y
y

x

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PHYSICS LOCUS 18 Y l l 7. Three laminar objects of same density a square,
PHYSICS
LOCUS
18
Y
l
l
7. Three laminar objects of same density a square, a disc and
an equilateral triangle are placed as shown in figure. Find
the coordinates of the centre of mass of the system of these
three bodies.
l
l
O
X
8. Four particles of masses m 1 = 2 kg, m 2 = 4 kg, m 3 = 1 kg and
m 4 are placed at four corners of a square as shown in figure.
m
m
1
2
Can mass of m
be adjusted in such a way that the centre of
4
mass of system will be at the centre of the square, C. C
m
m
4
3
9. From a uniform disc of radius R, a circular hole of radius R/2 is cut. The centre of the hole is at R/2 from the
centre of the original disc. Locate the centre of mass of the resulting flat body.
10. From a uniform disc of radius R, two circular sections each of radius R/4 have been removed as shown in
figure. For the reference axes shown the co-ordinates of centre of mass of remaining body are
y
3
R
3
R
3
R
3
R
(a)
,
112
(b)
112
56
,
56
3
R
3
R
3
R
3
R
(c)
,
128
(d)
.
x
128
64
,
64
y
11. Figure shows a thin uniform disc of radius R, from which a
hole of radius R/2 has been cut out from left of the centre
and is placed on right of the centre of disc. Find the C.M. of
the resulting system.
(-R/2, 0)
(+R/2, 0)
x
O
R
12. A square hole is punched out from a circular lamina, the diagonal of the square being a radius of the circle.
Show that the centre of mass of the remaining body is at a distance R/(4π – 2) from the centre of the circle,
where R is the radius of the circular lamina.
13. A nonuniform thin rod of length L lies along the x axis with one end at the origin. It has a linear mass density
λ kg/m, given by λ = λ (1 + x / L ). The density is thus twice as great at one end as at the other. (a) Use M
0
=
dm
to find the total mass. (b) Find the centre of mass of the rod.
14.
AB is a uniformly shaped thin rod of length L, but its linear mass density varies with distance from one end A
2
of the rod as
λ = px
+ c, where p and c are positive constants. Find out the distance of the centre of mass of
this rod from the end A.
y
15.
Use integration to find the centre of mass of the right
isosceles triangle shown in figure.
10 m
x
0
10 m
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PHYSICS LOCUS 19 MOTION OF THE CENTRE OF MASS : Now we can discuss the
PHYSICS
LOCUS
19
MOTION OF THE CENTRE OF MASS :
Now we can discuss the physical importance of the centre of mass concept. Consider the motion of a group of
particles whose masses are m 1 , m 2 ,
m
n and whose total mass is M. For the time being we will assume that mass
neither enters nor leaves the system so that the total mass M of the system remains constant with time. In a later
section we shall consider systems in which M is not constant; a familiar example is a rocket, which expels hot gases
as its fuel burns, thus reducing its mass.
From equation (6.8) we have, for our fixed system of particles,
Mr $
= mr $$ + mr ++ mr $
,
cm
1
1
22
n
n
$
where r
is the position vector identifying the centre of mass in a particular reference frame. Differentiating this
cm
equation with respect to time, we obtain
$
dr
dr $
dr $
dr $
cm
1
2
n
M
=
mm
+
++
m
1
2
n
dt
dt
dt
dt
$
$$ +
or
Mv
=
mv
mv
++
m v $
(6.11)
cm
11
22
n
n
where
v $ (= d r $
dt)
is the velocity of the first particle, etc. and dr $
dt (= v $
) is the velocity of the centre of mass.
1
1
cm
cm
Differentiating equation (6.11) with respect to time, we obtain
$
dv
dv $
dv $
dv $
cm
1
2
n
M
=
mm
+
++
m
1
2
n
dt
dt
dt
dt
Ma $
= m a
$$ + m a
++ m a $
(6.12)
cm
11
2
2
n
n
where
a $ 1 is the acceleration of the first particle, etc., and
d v $
dt
(
= a $
) is the acceleration of the centre of mass
cm
cm
$
$
$
of the system. Now, from Newton’s second law, the force
F 1 acting on the first particle is given by
F = ma
. Like
1
11
$
$
wise,
F
= ma
, etc. We can the write equation (6.12) as
2
22
$
$$
$
Ma
= F
+
F ++ F
(6.13)
cm
1
2
n
Hence, the total mass of the group of particles times the acceleration of its centre of mass is equal to the
vector sum of all the forces acting on the group of particles.
Among all these forces will be internal forces exerted by the particles on each other. However, from Newton’s
third laws, these internal forces will occur in equal and opposite pairs, so that they contribute nothing to the sum on
the right hand side of the equation (6.13). Therefore, the right hand sum in equation (6.13) represents the sum of
only the external forces acting on all the particles. We can rewrite equation (6.13) as simply
$
$
Ma
= F
(6.14)(a)
cm
ext
$
$
F
ext
or
a
=
(6.14)(b)
cm
M
This states that the centre of mass of a system of particles moves as though all the mass of the system were
concentrated at the centre of mass and all the external forces were applied at that point.
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PHYSICS LOCUS 20 You should notice that we obtained this simple result without specifying the
PHYSICS
LOCUS
20
You should notice that we obtained this simple result without specifying the nature of the system of particles. The
system can be a rigid body in which the particles are in fixed positions with respect to one another, or it can be a
collection of particles in which there may be all kinds of internal motion. Whatever the system is, and however its
individual parts may be moving, its centre of mass moves according to equation (6.14). Only external forces govren
the motion of the centre of mass of the system.
$
$
$
$
You should also notice that if
F
= 0
, then
a
= 0
. In this case there may be internal forces acting on the different
ext
cm
parts of the system and hence those parts may be moving with some accelerations.
$
$
Two 3-kg masses have velocities
v
= 23i ˆ +
ˆ jms/
and
v
= 46i ˆ −
ˆ jms/
. Find the velocity of the centre of
1
2
$
mass. If a constant force
after the action of force.
ˆ
F = 24iN
is applied on the system for 5 seconds, find the velocity of the centre of mass
Solution: From equation (6.11), we have
$
mv $
+
mv $
11
2
2
v
=
cm
m
+
m
1
2
ˆˆ
ˆˆ −
3(2
ij
++
3
)
3(4
ij
6
)
=
m
/
s
3
+
3
= 3i ˆ −1.5 ˆ jms/
During the action of the external force, from equation (6.14), we have
$
$
F
ext
a
=
cm
m
+
m
1
2
24
ˆ
2
=
ims
/
6
ˆ
2
= 4ims/
As the centre of mass of the system has a constant acceleration for the period in which the external force is applied,
the velocity of the centre of mass after the action of the force can be given as
$$$
v
$$ = v
+ at $ .
[Using, v = u + at ]
cm
cm
cm
final
initial
= [(3i ˆˆˆ −1.5 j) +⋅(4i 5)] ms/
= 23i ˆ −1.5 ˆ j
ms/
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PHYSICS LOCUS 21 Two particles of equal mass m are connected to a spring (massless)
PHYSICS
LOCUS
21
Two particles of equal mass m are connected to a spring (massless) and rest on a frictionless horizontal table. If an
$
external force F is applied to one of them, as shown in figure 6.15 (a), describe the motion of the system.
!
F
fig. 6.15(a)
Solution: Our two-body system is indicated by the shading in figure 6.15(b). The internal forces are those exerted
by the spring and the gravitational attraction between the bodies, which is so small that we can neglect it.
m
m
fig. 6.15(b)
The external forces acting on this system are the force of gravity exerted on each body, the normal contact force
$
exerted by the surface of the table on the particles (which balances the force of gravity) and the applied force F .
When we sum over all the forces acting on the system, the internal
forces cancel (the force exerted by the spring on a particle is equal
and opposite to the force applied by that particle on the spring, as
shown in figure 6.15 (c)). Hence, the resultant force on the system
is sum of all external forces which is equal to the applied force F
because gravity is balanced by the normal contact force from the
surface. Therefore the acceleration of the centre of mass of the
system is given by
!
–F
1
!
F
$
1
,
m
fig. 6.15(c)
$
$
F
a
=
cm
m
+
m
$
F
=
2
m
Since the masses are equal, the centre of mass lies halfway between the particles. We should note that the net force
on the particle on the left side is the spring force exerted on it and the net force on the particle on the right side is the
sum of the spring force on it and the applied force F . As the spring constant is not known and the spring force on
each particle varies with the distance between the particles it is quite complicated to analyze the motion of the
individual particles. However, the description of the motion of the centre of mass is simple.
$
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PHYSICS LOCUS 22 $ NOTE: Consider the same example with no spring, i.e., just two
PHYSICS
LOCUS
22
$
NOTE: Consider the same example with no spring, i.e., just two equal masses on a smooth table with a force F
exerted on one of them. In this case the motion of each particle would be different from the last case, because there
is
no spring force on any of the particles. However, the centre of mass motion is the same as in the previous case.
:
A
projectile explodes into two equal pieces, each of mass m, at the top of its flight. One of the pieces drops straight
down from rest after the explosion while the other moves off horizontally, so that they land simultaneously. Where
does the second piece land ?
Solution: Considering the projectile to be the system (whether it is in one piece or two), the only external force
exerted on the system before the pieces hit the ground is that due to gravity. The forces exerted during the explosion
are interval forces, which do not affect the motion of the centre of mass. After the explosion the centre of mass
moves on the rest of the parabola just as if there had been no explosion, as shown in figure 6.16
mm
CM
2m
m
m
CM
fig. 6.16
Since the centre of mass is halfway between equal masses and we know that one mass drops straight down,
the other must land at an equal distance from the centre of mass, as shown in above figure.
$
LINEAR MOMENTUM OF A PARTICLE: The momentum of a single particle is a vector p defined as the
product of its mass m and its velocity v $ . That is,
p $ = mv $
(6.15)
$
Because it is proportional to v $ , the momentum p
of a particle depends on the reference frame of the observer.
Newton, in his famous princpia, expressed the second law of motion in terms of momentum (which he called
“quantity of motion”). Expressed in modern technology Newton’s second law reads: The rate of change of momentum
of
a body is proportional to the resultant force acting on the body and is in the direction of that force. In symbolic
form this becomes
$
$
d p
F =
(6.16)
dt
For a single particle of constant mass m, we have
$
$
d
p
F =
dt
$
d
(mv)
=
dt
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PHYSICS LOCUS 23 d v $ dm =m + v $ dt dt $ d
PHYSICS
LOCUS
23
d
v $
dm
=m
+
v $
dt
dt
$
d
v
= m
dt
$
= ma
$
$
$
d p
which is exactly what we have used up to now. The relations F = ma $ and
completely equivalent in classical mechanics.
F =
for single particles are
dt
LINEAR MOMENTUM OF A SYSTEM OF PARTICLES:
Suppose that instead of a single particle we have a system of n particles, with masses m 1 ,m 2 etc. We shall continue
to assume that no mass enters or leaves the system, so that the mass
M (=
m )
of the system remains constant
i
with time. The particle s may interact with each other and external forces may act on them as well. Each particle will
$
$
have a velocity and a momentum. Particle 1 of mass m 1 and velocity
v
will have a momentum
p
= mv $
, for
$
1
1
11
example. The system as a whole will have a total momentum P in a particular reference frame, which is defined to
be simply the vector sum of the moment a of the individual particles in that frame, or
$
P = p
$$ + p
+
+
p $
12
n
= m v
$$ + m v
+
+
m v $
.
(6.17)
11
22
nn
If we compare this relation with equation (6.11) we see at once that
$
$
P=Mv
(6.18)
cm
which is an equivalent definition for momentum of a system of particles. In words equation (6.18) states : The total
momentum of a system of particles is equal to the product of the total mass of the system and the velocity of
its centre of mass.
Differentiating equation (6.18) with respect to time we obtain
$
$
dP
d Mv
(
)
cm
=
dt
dt
$
d v
cm
= M
dt
$
= M a
cm
Comparing above relation with equation (6.14) we see that
$
$
dP = F
dt
(6.19)
ext
$
$
This equation is the generalization of the single particle equation F = d p dt to a system of particles, no mass
entering or leaving the system. In words equation (6.19) states : The rate of change of linear momentum of a
system of particles is equal to the net external force acting on the system. Here you should notice that
internal forces can not change the momentum of the system as a whole although they can change the momenta of the
individual particles of the system on which they are acting.
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PHYSICS

LOCUS

24

CONSERVATION OF LINEAR MOMENTUM:

 

Suppose that the sum of the external forces acting on a system is zero or there is no external force acting on the system. Then, form equation (6.19),

 

$

dP

 

$

$

dt

=

F

net

= 0

 

$

 
 

or

P = constant

 

(6.20)

when the resultant external force acting on a system is zero, the total vector momentum of the system remains constant. This simple but quite general result is called the principle of the conservation of linear momentum.

The conservation of linear momentum principle is the second of the greatest conservation principles that we have met so far, the first being the conservation of energy principle. For the conservation of linear momentum observers in different inertial reference frames $ $ would assign different values of p to the linear momentum of the system, but

$

$

 

F

ent

= 0

) that his own value of P remained unchanged as the particles that make up

each would agree (assuming the system move about.

The total momentum of a system can only be changed by external forces acting on the system. The internal forces, being equal and opposite, produce equal and opposite changes in momentum which cancel one another. For a system of particles the moment of individual particles may change (due to internal forces), but their sum remains constant if there is no external net force.

Momentum is a vector quantity. Equation (6.20), therefore, is equivalent to three scalar equations, one for each coordinate direction. Therefore, we can write

if F (x - component of the net external force ) = 0

x

 

(6.21)(a)

then P (x - component of the total momentum of the system) = constant.

x

 

Similar, if

and, if

F

y

= 0, the

P

F

= 0, then

P

y

= constant

= constant.

 

(6.21)(b)

(6.21)(c)

z

z

NOTE: For a system of particles of constant mass, equation (6.20) could also be obtained in the following way :

$

if

F

ext

 

, then

$

=

0

 

= 0

a

 

cm

 

$

 

V

cm

= constant

 

$

 

M V

cm

= constant

 

$

$

 

P = MV

= constant

 

cm

In words this can be stated as : If the resultant external force on a system is zero, the velocity of the centre of mass of the system is constant and the total momentum of the system is constant (i.e., conserved).

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PHYSICS

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25

PHYSICS LOCUS 25 Let us consider the projectile in example 12 once again. Let us imagine

Let us consider the projectile in example 12 once again. Let us imagine that our projectile (shell) explodes into many tiny fragments while in flight, as shown in figure 6.17. We assume that the air resistance is

 
   
 

fig 6.17

negligible. The system is the shell, the earth is our reference frame, and the external force is that of gravity. The shell

explodes at

x = x

1

and shell fragments are blown in all directions. What can we say about the motion of this system

thereafter?

Solution: The forces of the explosion are all internal forces; they are forces exerted by part of the system on other parts of the system. These forces may change the momenta of all the individual fragments, but they can not change the total momentum of the system. Only an external force can change the overall momentum of the system. Therefore, the centre of mass of the system would move under the action of gravity as there was no explosion and hence the centre of mass of the fragments will continue to move in the parabolic path that the unexploded shell would have followed as shown in figure 6.18.

 
   
 

fig 6.18

Here you should note that the change in total momentum of the system is the same whether the shell explodes or not and this change is attributed to gravity only.

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PHYSICS

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26

PHYSICS LOCUS 26 A man of mass 70 kg and a boy of mass 35 kg

A man of mass 70 kg and a boy of mass 35 kg are standing together on a smooth ice surface for which friction is negligible. If after they push each other apart, the man moves with a speed 0.3 m/s relative to the ice, how far apart are they after 5.0 sec.?

Solution: We take the man and the boy together as the system. The force of gravity on each is balanced by a corresponding normal force of the ice. Since there is no friction, the resultant force on the system is zero. the force exerted by the man on the boy is equal and opposite to that exerted by the boy on the man. Therefore, total momentum of the system is conserved. As the initial momentum of the system is zero (since the boy and the man are standing at rest), it will remain zero even after the moment the boy and the man push each other apart. Therefore, the boy and the man must have equal and opposite momentum. Since, the man has twice the mass of the boy, the boy must have twice the speed of the man. Since the man moves in one direction with sped 0.3 m/s, the boy moves in the opposite direction with speed 0.6 m/s. After 5 sec. The man have moved 1.5 m and the boy 3 m and they are 4.5 m apart.

NOTE:

• As the total momentum of the system is always zero, the centre of mass of the system is always at rest in its original position, the position where they initially stood, as shown in figure 6.19.

70 kg 35 kg F m F b 70 kg 35 kg V b V
70 kg
35 kg
F m
F b
70 kg
35 kg
V b
V m
35 kg
70 kg
V b
V m
70 kg
35 kg
V m
fig. 6.19

V b

• As the centre of mass of the system has to be at rest, at some time, if d be the distance between the boy and

the man and

d

1

and

d

2

be their distances from the centre of mass, then using equation (6.4), we have,

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PHYSICS LOCUS 27 d d = m ⋅ 1 2 m + m 1 2
PHYSICS
LOCUS
27
d
d
=
m
1
2
m
+
m
1
2
m
+
m
1
2
=
d
⇒ d
1
m
2
∴ at t = 5 sec., distance between the man and the boy
distance travelled
by the man
mass of the
system
=
×
mass of
the boy
70
+
35
=
(
03 ⋅×
5
)
×
35
= 03⋅××5
3 m
= 4⋅5 m
A bullet of mass 10 g moves horizontally with speed 400 m/s and embeds itself in a block of mass 390 g initially at
rest on a frictionless table. What is the final velocity of the bullet and block?
Solution: Since there are no horizontal forces on the bullet-block system, the horizontal component of the total
momentum of the system is conserved. (There is a small vertical resultant force on the system, the weight of the
bullet before it strikes the block. The bullet accelerates toward the earth before it strikes the block. We shall ignore
this slight vertical motion.)
Wooden
block
Bullet
+
m
m 1
2
Frictionless surface
v 1x
v x
m
1
M
M
Before impact: P = m v
After impact: P = (m + m v
)
ix
1
1x
fx
1
2
2
fig. 6.20
The total initial horizontal momentum P before the bullet strikes the block is just that of the bullet:
ix
P
= m v
=
(10
g
)(400 m/s)
=
400
g ⋅=⋅kg
m/s
4
m/s
ix
1
1
x
Afterward the bullet and block move together with a common velocity
v
.
The total final momentum
P
is
x
fx
P
=+m
(
m
)
v
=
(10
g +
390
gv
)
=
(0.4 kg)
v
fx
1
2
x
x
x
Since the total momentum is conserved, the final momentum equals the initial momentum:
(0.4 kg)
v
=
4kg m/s
x
v
= 10 m/s
x
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PHYSICS LOCUS 28 Since the bullet and block both move together with this velocity, the
PHYSICS
LOCUS
28
Since the bullet and block both move together with this velocity, the centre of mass must move with this velocity. We
could have found the velocity of the centre of mass (which is constant) before the collision from Equation 8-4:
Mv
=Σm v
+ m 2 (0)
CM x
,
i
ix
m v
4 kg
m/s
1
1 x
v
==
= 10 m/s
CM, x
m
+
m
0.4 kg
1
2
A
simple computation of the initial and final energies shows that again mechanical energy is not conserved. The
original
kinetic
energy
is
1
2
2
m v
=×=
1
(0.01 kg)
(400 m/s)
800 J,
and
the
final
energy
is
2
1
ix
2
1
2
2 (0.04 kg)(10 m/s)
= 20 J. In this case most of the original kinetic energy (780 J out of 800 J) is lost because
large nonconservative forces between the bullet and the block deform the bodies. A bullet embedding itself in a
block is an example of an inelastic collision. We shall study such collisions in more detail later in this chapter.
Consider two blocks A and B, of masses
m 1 and
A
B
coupled by a spring and resting on a horizontal
frictionless table, as shown in figure 6.21(a).
m
,
m 1
m 1
2
fig. 6.21(a)
Let us push the blocks closer and compress the spring and then release the blocks. Describe the subsequent motion.
Solution: When we release the system of the given two blocks from the rest, net external force on the system is zero
at
that moment and thereafter (because three is no external horizontal force acting on the system and the weight of
the system is balanced by the normal contact forces on the blocks from the horizontal surface). Therefore, total
linear momentum of the system is conserved. If system is released from rest at t = 0, then, momentum of the system
at
any time t is
$
$
Pt() = M
v
()t
sys
cm
$
=
P
(at t = 0)
sys
$
= 0
$
$
v
= 0
cm
Or we can say that the centre of mass of the system is always at rest. You should note that above obtained result
could be obtained in the following way also:
we have,
$
$
F
ext
a
=
cm
M
system
$
$
$
$
a = 0
(
F
= 0
)
cm
ext
Therefore,
v
$ constant
=
cm
$
=
v
cm,initial
$
=
0
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PHYSICS LOCUS 29 Hence, the centre of mass of the system is always at rest.
PHYSICS
LOCUS
29
Hence, the centre of mass of the system is always at rest.
Due to internal forces (spring forces on the two blocks and their corresponding reaction forces on the spring) the
two blocks would move on the horizontal surface. While the two blocks move horizontally, following predication
can be made:
• As the speed of the centre of mass is always zero, it maintains its initial position. Therefore, at any time, if
m
1
m d
has moved by a distance
d 1 away from the centre of mass,
1
1
m
must have moved a distance
d
=
2
2
m
2
away from it in the opposite direction. This is exactly what we discussed in example 14.
• As the net momentum $ $ of the system is always zero, at any moment, we can write
P
= 0
sys
$
$
mv
+ mv $
= 0
AA
BB
$
mv
= −mv $
(i)
AA
BB
m
B
v $
= −
v $
(ii)
A
B
m
A
v
m
A
B
=
(iii)
v
m
B
A
Therefore, according to equations (i) and (ii), at any moment, magnitudes of momenta of the blocks A and B must
be equal, A and B must be moving in opposite directions. At a certain moment if one of the blocks comes to rest,
other must come to rest simultaneously.
We have,
2
k
1
m v
A
2
A
A
=
2
k
1
mv
B
2
BB
v
(
1 2 mv
)
A
AA
=
v
(
1 2 mv
)
B
BB
v
A
=
[Using (i)]
v
B
k
m
A
B
=
[Using (ii)]
k
m
B
A
Therefore, at any time, kinetic energy of a block is inversely proportional to its mass. At this point you should also
not that mechanical energy of the system is conserved.
• Figure 6.21(b) shows the system at some instant when the block A and the block B have moved by distances
d
and
d
,
respectively, away from their initial positions and have speeds v
and
v
.
1
2
A
B
v
v
A
B
m 1
m 2
d
d
1
2
P 
=⇒
0
mv
= mv
;
Displacement of the CM is zero
md = md
sys
1
A
2
A
1
1
2
2
.  
fig. 6.21(b)
• When we release the system from the rest, each block accelerates in the outward direction due to spring
force acting on it and in this way compression in the spring decreases and hence the outward spring force on
each block also decreases. But as long as there is any compression left in the spring, the two blocks will
continue to accelerate in the outward direction, as shown in figure 6.22(a) and (b).
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PHYSICS

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30

At a certain moment when the spring acquires its natural length, spring force on each block becomes zero and hence their acceleration also vanishes at that time, as shown in figure 6.22(c). At this moment each block has its maximum speed and hence it continues to move in the same direction which causes elongation in the spring. Now, spring exerts inward force on each block which increases with the distance between the two blocks, as shown in figure

6.22(d).

= 0

F sp

F sp

natural length

natural length

natural length

F

sp
sp
m 1 m 2
m 1
m 2

REST

6.22(d). = 0 F sp F sp natural length F sp m 1 m 2 REST

(a)

F

F

sp sp v (increasing) 2 v (b) 1 m 1 m 2
sp
sp
v
(increasing)
2
v
(b)
1
m 1
m 2

F sp

= 0

v , max v , max 2 (c) 1 m m 2 1
v , max
v , max
2
(c)
1
m
m 2
1
v v 1 F F 2 sp sp (decreasing) (decreasing) (d) m m 1 2
v
v
1
F
F
2
sp
sp
(decreasing)
(decreasing)
(d)
m
m
1
2
F F REST sp sp REST (e) m m 1 2
F
F
REST
sp
sp
REST
(e)
m
m
1
2
(d) m m 1 2 F F REST sp sp REST (e) m m 1 2

F sp

F sp

1 2 F F REST sp sp REST (e) m m 1 2 F sp F
v (increasing) v (increasing ) 1 2 (f) m m 1 2
v (increasing)
v (increasing
)
1
2
(f)
m
m
1
2
F = 0 F = 0 sp v , max v , max sp 1
F
= 0
F
=
0
sp
v , max
v , max
sp
1
2
(g)
m
m 2
1

v (decreasing)

1
1

v (decreasing)

1
1
F F sp (h) sp m 1 m 2
F
F
sp
(h)
sp
m 1
m 2

REST

REST

F F sp sp (i) m 1 m 2
F
F
sp
sp
(i)
m 1
m 2
m m 2 1 v (decreasing) 1 v (decreasing) 1 F F sp (h) sp m

fig. 6.22

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A

REST

B

PHYSICS

LOCUS

 

31

Due to inward spring force each block suffers continuous decrease in its speed and eventually comes to rest, as shown in figure 6.22(d) and (e). when blocks come to rest, elongation in the spring is maximum and hence inward spring force on each block has its maximum value. Obviously, blocks can not remain in rest with spring having maximum elongation. Blocks now move with increasing speed in the inward direction and in this way elongation in the spring decreases and hence the force on each block, as shown in figure 6.22(f).

When the spring acquires its natural length once again, as shown in figure 6.22(g), spring force on them becomes zero and hence they acquire maximum inward speed. As the mechanical energy of the system is conserved (since work done by nonconservative forces is zero in this case), when system repeats its configuration, kinetic energy of the system must be repeated. Hence, maximum outward speed and maximum inward speed of each block are same, because they occur when the spring has its natural length.

Blocks A and B would continue their inward motion due to their inward velocity but as soon as they pass the natural length position of the spring, spring becomes compressed and spring force retards the inward motion of the two blocks, as shown n figure 6.22(h).

When the blocks stop, as shown in figure 6.22(i), compression in the spring is equal to the initial compression, which can be proved in the following way:

 

E

= E

[

w

 

= 0]

 

f

i

noncon

k

f

+U

=+kU

fii

= U

U

i

 

[

k

i

=

0 and

k

=

0]

f

final compression = initial compression

 

f

Now, the system has regained its initial state and thereafter it will go on repeating this cycle

 

Positions of the blocks when the spring has its natural length are defined as their equilibrium positions because net force on them is zero. Therefore, here we say that the centre of mass of the system remains at its initial position and the blocks and B oscillate about their equilibrium positions.

If friction were present, the motion will die out as the energy is dissipated. What can be said about the linear momentum of the system in this case?

NOTE: Let us consider a very interesting and frequently observed case separately. If the centre of mass of a system of constant mass is initially at rest and net external force on the system is zero, then the results obtained in the last example can be used in all such cases. In such cases the centre of mass always remains at its inition position. Therefore,

 

$

 

r

cm

= 0

 

6.22(a)

mr ∆+ $

+

11

m

1

mr $

2

m

2

2

= 0

[for a two particle system]

 
 

$

 

mr∆+ $ mr∆= $ 0

11

22

 

6.22(b)

Above vector equation can also be written in the following one dimensional form:

 

mx∆+ mx∆= 0

11

22

   

6.22(c)

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PHYSICS

LOCUS

32

From equation 6.22(c), we have,

m

1

which says that the two parts of the system always move in opposite directions and magnitudes of their displacements are inversely proportional to their masses.

displacements are inversely proportional to their masses. A man of mass on the surface of a

A man of mass

on the surface of a lake. The man travels through a distance l with respect to the raft and then stops, as shown in figure 6.23(a). The resistance of the water is negligible. Find the corresponding displacement d of the raft relative to the water.

m 1 a float

m 1 is located on a narrow raft of mass

l

m 1 a float m 1 is located on a narrow raft of mass l fig.

fig. 6.23(a)

Solution: Let us consider the man and the raft as a single system. As the centre of mass fo the external force on the system, we can apply equation 6.22(c) in this case. Let us define the horizontal direction as x-direction and assume that the raft has moved by a distance d with respect to the water, as shown in figure 6.23(b). Applying equation 6.22(c), we get,

mx∆+ mx

11

2

2

m 1

m

2

= 0

l (ωrt raft)

+ve X

m 1 m 2
m
1
m
2
m 1 ∆ m 2 = 0 l ( ω rt raft ) + v e

d

fig. 6.23(b)

m

 

∆= x

1

displacement of the raft

ld

(

=−

)

2

md + m d = ml

12

1

 
 

m

1

 

m

1

+

m

2

1     m 1   m 1 + m 2 In this last example if

In this last example if the man while walking on the raft moved with a velocity

$

v (t)

1

with respect to the raft, find:

(a)

velocity expression of the raft with respect to the water for the same time interval

(b)

the horizontal component of the force with which the man acted on the raft during the motion.

Solution: In the last example, obtained result is

m

1

m 1

+ m

2

where d is the distance traveled by the raft with respect to the water and l is the distance traveled with respect to the

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x

1

=−

m

2

x

2

x

2

=−

x

1

d

()

⇒ d () − =− m 1 ( ld − )  ∵  ∆= x

=−

m 1 (

ld

)

∆=

x

2

displacement of the raft

=

d

and

d

=

l

d

=

l

PHYSICS

LOCUS

33

raft. As we know that the man and the raft move in opposite directions, in vector form above equation can be written as

$

d

= −

m 1 l

$

1

+ m

2

m

If we assume that these distances are some intermediate distances while the movement of the man and the raft, then

differentiating the above expression with respect to the time, we get,

$

dd(

)

= −

m

1

$

dl()

dt

m

1

+

 

m

2

dt

 

m $

1

m

1

+ m

2

$

$

dl

d

(

d

)

dt

dt

is the velocity of the raft with

respect to the water.

ALTERNATE METHOD:

When the man moves on the raft with velocity

with respect to it, let us assume that the raft moves with velocity

with respect to the water, as shown in figure 6.22(c). As the external horizontal force on the system

“man + raft” is zero, linear momentum of the system in the horizontal direction must be conserved. Therefore, at some time t, the linear momentum of the system

$

v (t)

1

$

v (t)

2

$ Pt( ) = P

$

sys

sys, initially

= 0

m 1

[

]

v $$ ()t ++v ()t

1

2

$

mv $ ()t = 0

22

mv $$ ()t + mv ()t =−mv $ ()t

12

2

2

11

v (t) (ωrt raft)

1
1
! v ()t 2 (ωrt water)
!
v ()t
2
(ωrt water)

m

1 + m

2

fig. 6.23(c)

where ‘

vt() $ + vt() $

1

2

’ is the velocity of the man with respect to the water.

2 ’ is the velocity of the man with respect to the water. A smooth wedge

A smooth wedge of mass M with a small block of mass m at the

highest point of its inclined surface is released from rest on a fixed

smooth horizontal surface, as shown in figure 6.24(a). Initially block is at rest with respect to the wedge surface and the angle of inclination

of the inclined surface with respect to the horizontal is θ. Find:

(a)

distance traveled by the wedge with respect to the horizontal surface when the block reaches the lowermost point of the inclined part of the wedge

(b)

speed of the wedge with respect to the horizontal surface at the same moment.

m H M θ smooth smooth
m
H
M
θ
smooth
smooth

fig. 6.24(a)

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$

()

vt

2

⇒ $ () vt 2 = − () vt 1

= −

()

vt

1

⇒ $ () vt 2 = − () vt 1

$

where v

1

$ where v 1 ( ) = t $ is the velocity of the man with

( ) =

t

$

is the velocity of the man with respect to the raft and v

2 (

t

) =

$

()

vt

2

⇒ $ () vt 2 = − m $ 1 vt 1 ()

= −

m $

1 vt

1

()

⇒ $ () vt 2 = − m $ 1 vt 1 ()

PHYSICS

 

LOCUS

 

34

Solution: (a) If we consider the wedge and the block as a single system, then, there is no external force acting on the system in the horizontal direction. Therefore, the centre of mass of the system suffers zero horizontal displacement because its initial velocity in the horizontal direction was also zero. If we define horizontal direction as x-direction, as

shown in figure 6.24(b), and assume that the wedge has moved by a distance x along the +ve x-direction, then, for the system, we can write,

mx∆+ mx

= 0

[

x

=

0]

+ve x-direction

 

11

2

2

mx∆+ Mx = 0

1

2

 

cm

M m θ
M
m
θ

m(x Hcotθ ) +=Mx

0

mx + Mx = mHcotθ

⇒ mx + Mx = mH cot θ x

x

⇒ mx + Mx = mH cot θ x
 

Hcot θ

 

x

=

m

m

+

M

H cot

θ

fig. 6.24(b)

Here

x

1

is the displacement of the block along +ve x-direction (or we can say change in horizontal position of the

block). I have used =x xHcosecθ. How did I got this relation? Try to find it out from the figure 6.24(b) only.

1

(b)

when the block reaches the lowermost point of the inclined surface of the wedge, let its speed with respect to the wedge be u and the wedge has a speed v with respect to the horizontal surface, as shown in figure

6.24(c).

 
v M u m
v
M
u
m
 
N N ' mg N
N
N '
mg
N
 

Mg

 

fig. 6.24(c)

 

fig. 6.24(d)

When the block slides over the wedge, free body diagrams of the block and the wedge are shown in figure 6.24(d). When we consider the block and the wedge as a single system, then, normal contact forces applied by the block and the wedge on each other do not contribute to the net force on the system. Remaining forces acting on the system are weight of the block, weight of the wedge and the normal contact force on the wedge from the horizontal surface. All these three forces act in vertical direction and hence, the net force acting on the system has no horizontal component, therefore, linear momentum of the system is be conserved in the horizontal direction.

Applying conservation of linear momentum in the horizontal direction between the moments when the system was released from rest and when the block just reaches the lowermost point of the inclined surface of the wedge, we get

P

sys, x, fin

= P