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Components of a Force

Forces acting at some angle from the the coordinate axes can be resolved into mutually
perpendicular forces called components. The component of a force parallel to the x-axis is called the
x-component, parallel to y-axis the y-component, and so on.
Components of a Force in XY Plane

Given the slope of the line of action of the force as v/h (see figure to the right)

Components of a Force in 3D Space

Given the direction cosines of the force:

Given the coordinates of any two points along the line of

action of the force (in reference to the figure shown, one of the points is the origin):
Let d = distance OB

Vector Notation of a Force (Also called Rectangular Representation of a Force)

Where is a unit vector. There are two cases in determining ; by direction cosines and by the
coordinates of any two points on the line of action of the force.
Given the direction cosines:
Given any two points P1(x1, y1) and P2(x2, y2) on the line of action of the force:

i, j, and k are unit vectors in the direction of x, y and z respectively.


Also note the following:


In simplest term

The above rectangular representation of a force is applicable in both 2D and 3D forces.

Moment of a Force
Moment is the measure of the capacity or ability of the force to produce twisting or turning effect
about an axis. This axis is perpendicular to the plane containing the line of action of the force. The
magnitude of moment is equal to the product of the force and the perpendicular distance from the
axis to the line of action of the force. The intersection of the plane and the axis is commonly called
the moment center, and the perpendicular distance from the moment center to the line of action of
the force is called moment arm.

From the figure above, O is the moment center and d is the moment arm. The moment M of force F
about point O is equal to the product of F and d.

Couple is a system of forces whose magnitude of the resultant is zero and yet has a moment sum.
Geometrically, couple is composed of two equal forces that are parallel to each other and acting in
opposite direction. The magnitude of the couple is given by


are the two forces and

is the moment arm, or the perpendicular distance between the

Couple is independent of the moment center, thus, the effect is unchanged in the following

The couple is rotated through any angle in its plane.

The couple is shifted to any other position in its plane.

The couple is shifted to a parallel plane.

In a case where a system is composed entirely of couples in the same plane or parallel planes,
the resultant is a couple whose magnitude is the algebraic sum of the original couples.

Resultant of Concurrent Force System

Resultant of a force system is a force or a couple that will have the same effect to the body, both in
translation and rotation, if all the forces are removed and replaced by the resultant.
The equation involving the resultant of force system are the following
The x-component of the resultant is equal to the summation of forces in the x-direction.

The y-component of the resultant is equal to the summation of forces in the y-direction.

The z-component of the resultant is equal to the summation of forces in the z-direction.

Note that according to the type of force system, one or two or three of the equations above will be
used in finding the resultant.
Resultant of Coplanar Concurrent Force System
The line of action of each forces in coplanar concurrent force system are on the same plane. All of
these forces meet at a common point, thus concurrent. In x-y plane, the resultant can be found by
the following formulas:

Resultant of Spatial Concurrent Force System

Spatial concurrent forces (forces in 3-dimensional space) meet at a common point but do not lie in a
single plane. The resultant can be found as follows:

Direction Cosines

Vector Notation of the Resultant


Resultant of Parallel Force System

Coplanar Parallel Force System
Parallel forces can be in the same or in opposite directions. The sign of the direction can be chosen
arbitrarily, meaning, taking one direction as positive makes the opposite direction negative. The
complete definition of the resultant is according to its magnitude, direction, and line of action.

Resultant of Distributed Loads

The resultant of a distributed load is equal to the area of the load diagram. It is acting at the centroid
of that area as indicated. The figure below shows the three common distributed loads namely;
rectangular load, triangular load, and trapezoidal load.

Rectangular Load

Triangular Load

Trapezoidal Load

Spatial Parallel Force System

The resultant of parallel forces in space will act at the point where it will create equivalent
translational and rotational (moment) effects in the system.

In vector notation, the resultant of forces are as follows...

Two parallel forces that are equal in magnitude, opposite in direction, and not colinear will create a
rotation effect. This type of pair is called a Couple. The placement of a couple in the plane is
immaterial, meaning, its rotational effect to the body is not a function of its placement. The
magnitude of the couple is given by

Where F = the magnitude of the two equal opposing forces and d is the perpendicular distance
between these forces.

Equilibrium of Force System

The body is said to be in equilibrium if the resultant of all forces acting on it is zero. There are two
major types of static equilibrium, namely, translational equilibrium and rotational equilibrium.
Concurrent force system

Parallel Force System

Non-Concurrent Non-Parallel Force System

In static, a body is said to be in equilibrium when the force system acting upon it has a zero

Conditions of Static Equilibrium of Concurrent Forces

The sum of all forces in the x-direction or horizontal is zero.

The sum of all forces in the y-direction or vertical is zero.


Important Points for Equilibrium Forces

Two forces are in equilibrium if they are equal and oppositely directed.

Three coplanar forces in equilibrium are concurrent.

Three or more concurrent forces in equilibrium form a close polygon when connected in
head-to-tail manner.

Equilibrium of Parallel Force System

Conditions for Equilibrium of Parallel Forces
The sum of all the forces is zero.

The sum of moment at any point O is zero.

Equilibrium of Non-Concurrent Force System

There are three equilibrium conditions that can be used for non-concurrent, non-parallel force

The sum of all forces in the x-direction or horizontal is zero.


The sum of all forces in the y-direction or vertical is zero.


The sum of moment at any point O is zero.

The three equilibrium conditions can solved up to three unknowns in the system. If the system
involves more than three unknowns, it is called indeterminate. Indeterminate structures are beyond
the scope of Engineering Mechanics, it is one of the topics in Strength of Materials and Theory of

Analysis of Structures
There are many kinds of structure. This section will limit to those that are pin-connected. Two types
of pin-connected structures will be covered here; pin-connected trusses and pin-connected frames.
In the actual structure, the joints may be welded, riveted, or bolted to a gusset plate at the joint.
However as long as the center-line of the member coincide at the joint, the assumption of a pinned
joint maybe used.

Analysis of Simple Trusses

An ideal truss is a structure which is composed completely of axial members that are assumed to be
weightless. Members are connected by pinned joints, forming triangular substructures within the
main structure and with the external loads applied only at the joints.

In real trusses, of course, the members have weight, but it is often much less than the applied load
and may be neglected with little error. Sometimes, the weight maybe included by dividing the weight
in half and allowing half the weight to act at each end of the member.

Our primary interest is to know the forces acting in the bars and upon the pins of the structure. Each
member of the truss is either in tension or compression. A member in tension causes forces which
pull away from its end joints whereas a member in compression causes forces which push towards
the end joints.

Method of Joints | Analysis of Simple Trusses

Method of Joints
The free-body diagram of any joint is a concurrent force system in which the summation of moment
will be of no help. Recall that only two equilibrium equations can be written


This means that to solve completely for the forces acting on a joint, we must select a joint with no
more than two unknown forces involved. This can be started by selecting a joint acted on by only two
members. We can assume any unknown member to be either tension or compression. If negative
value is obtained, this means that the force is opposite in action to that of the assumed direction.
Once the forces in one joint are determined, their effects on adjacent joints are known. We then
continue solving on successive joints until all members have been found.

Method of Sections | Analysis of Simple Trusses

Method of Sections
In this method, we will cut the truss into two sections by passing a cutting plane through the
members whose internal forces we wish to determine. This method permits us to solve directly any
member by analyzing the left or the right section of the cutting plane. To remain each section in
equilibrium, the cut members will be replaced by forces equivalent to the internal load transmitted to
the members. Each section may constitute of non-concurrent force system from which three
equilibrium equations can be written.

, and

Because we can only solve up to three unknowns, it is important not to cut more than three
members of the truss. Depending on the type of truss and which members to solve, one may have to
repeat Method of Sections more than once to determine all the desired forces.

Method of Members | Frames Containing Three-Force Members

A three-force member is in general a non-axial member that is not simply in tension or compression.
A member of this kind has shear forces perpendicular to the member and subjected to bending
loads. If forces are applied to more than two positions on the member, it is three-force member. Any
beam is a three-force member according to the above definition.

Frames are pin-connected structures with some or all members are three-force members. To
analyze a frame, we can disconnect the three-force member from the structure and draw the freebody diagram of the member. This approach is called the method of members.

In this method, three equilibrium equations can be written

, and

Below is a figure that shows the difference between axial and non-axial (three-force) members.

Friction is the contact resistance exerted by one body when the second body moves or tends to
move past the first body. Friction is a retarding force that always acts opposite to the motion or to the
tendency to move.
Types of Friction
Dry Friction
Dry friction, also called Coulomb friction, occurs when unlubricated surfaces of two solids are in
contact and slide or tend to slide from each other. If lubricant separates these two surfaces, the
friction created is called lubricated friction. This section will deal only with dry friction.
Fluid Friction
Fluid friction occurs when layers of two viscous fluids moves at different velocities. The relative
velocity between layers causes frictional forces between fluid elements, thus, no fluid friction occurs
when there is no relative velocity.
Skin friction
Skin friction also called friction drag is a component of the force resisting the motion of a solid body
through a fluid.
Internal Friction
Internal friction is associated with shear deformation of the solid materials subjected to cyclical
loading. As deformation undergo during loading, internal friction may accompany this deformation.
Elements of Dry Friction
= Total reaction perpendicular to the contact surface
= Friction force
= Coefficient of friction
= Resultant of f and N

= angle of friction

Formulas for dry friction

Consider the block shown to the right that weighs

with the horizontal.

. It is placed upon a plane that inclined at an


the friction force
will just equate to
the block is in impending motion down the plane.

the maximum available frictional resistance
greater than
thus, the block is stationary.

the maximum available friction force

is less
thus, the block will slide down the plane.


We can therefore conclude that the maximum angle

that a plane may be inclined without
causing the body to slide down is equal to the angle of friction

Centroids and Centers of Gravity

Centroids of Composite Figures
Center of gravity of a homogeneous flat plate

Centroids of areas

Centroids of lines

Center of Gravity of Bodies and Centroids of Volumes

Center of gravity of bodies

Centroids of volumes

Centroids Determined by Integration

Centroid of area

Centroid of lines

Center of gravity of bodies

Centroids of volumes

Centroids of Common Geometric Shapes


Area and Centroid


Area and Centroid


Area and Centroid


Area and Centroid

Semicircular Arc

Length and Centroid

Quarter Circle

Area and Centroid

Sector of a Circle

Area and Centroid

Circular Arc

Length and Centroid


Area and Centroid

Half Ellipse

Area and Centroid

Quarter Ellipse

Area and Centroid

Parabolic Segment

Area and Centroid


Area and Centroid