PHYSICS 
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_{1} 


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


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


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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_{3}
Centre of Mass
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mx
+ mx
22
+
+
mx
n
n
PHYSICS
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_{8}
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
)
(3.0
kg
)(1.0
m
.sin 60 ° )
•
If mmm=
=
123
, then,
x
cm
=
xxx
123
+
+
and
y
cm
=
yyy
123 _{.}
+
+
PHYSICS
LOCUS
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As this line joins the midpoint of a side from the vertex opposite to the side, this line is median of the given triangle.
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).
fig. 6.9(f)
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 (midpoint) of the rod. Prove this by calculation for the centre of mass of the rod.
Solution: Let us choose the xaxis 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
x
dx
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
∫
!
= !
2 .
Hence, the centre of mass of the rod lies at the midpoint of the rod.
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!
x
⋅
m
⋅
dx
!
0
!
PHYSICS
LOCUS
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Centre of Mass
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x
cm
^{=}
PHYSICS 
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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
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 yaxis 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. 



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 

X 
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 yaxis 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 yaxis, 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
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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 centerofmass coordinates mass is uniform.
x
CM and
y
CM for the object in figure, assuming that distribution of
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.
Y
X
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
.

x
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PHYSICS 
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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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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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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.
^{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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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
F
REST
(a)
F
F
F sp
= 0
F sp
F sp
v (decreasing)
v (decreasing)
REST
REST
fig. 6.22
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^{A}
REST
^{B}
PHYSICS 
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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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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.
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
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 xdirection 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)
^{+}^{v}^{e} ^{X}
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 
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
()
−
=−
m 1 (
ld
−
)
∵
∆=
x
2
displacement of the raft
=
−
d
and
d
=
l
d
=
l
PHYSICS
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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)
m
1 + m
2
fig. 6.23(c)
where ‘
vt() $ + vt() $
1
2
’ is the velocity of the man with respect to the water.
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. 
fig. 6.24(a)
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⇒
$
()
vt
2
= −
()
vt
1
$
where v
1
( ) =
t
$
is the velocity of the man with respect to the raft and v
2 (
t
) =
⇒
$
()
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 xdirection, as 

shown in figure 6.24(b), and assume that the wedge has moved by a distance x along the +ve xdirection, then, for the system, we can write, mx∆+ mx∆ = 0 [ ∵ ∆x = 0] +ve xdirection 

11 2 2 ⇒ mx∆+ M∆x = 0 1 2 
cm 
M
m
θ


⇒ m(x − Hcotθ ) +=Mx 
0 

⇒ mx + Mx = mHcotθ 

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 xdirection (or we can say change in horizontal position of the 

block). I have used _{∆}_{=}_{−}_{x} _{x}_{H}_{c}_{o}_{s}_{e}_{c}_{θ}_{.} 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

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 
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