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By George E. Drabble

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The law states that Three forces in equilibrium acting at a point may be represented in magnitude and direction by the three sides of a triangle, taken in order. If this sounds complicated, an illustration will render it simple. Load I 10 kN Tension, T <ΛΝ£ Thrust, P I {Load, W = IOkN Fig. 10. Point P is in equilibrium under the action of the three forces shown. 27 The Nature of Force Suppose we have a system of three weights and cords, and two smooth pulleys, as shown in Fig. 11. Let us examine the junction of the three strings, P.

G is the centre of gravity. Its position may be determined by taking moments of forces about some point. must balance the total downward force. We do not need an equation this time to tell us that this total force is 20 kilonewtons. So we can now write our equation of moments about point P, taking due account of directions as before. This time, all the forces are known, but the distance x is not known. The equation is: F(8 - x) - (4 x 7) - (6 x 6) - (8 x 5) - (2 x 3) = 0 20(8 - x) = 28 -f 36 + 40 + 6 = 110 8 - x = 5i x = 2\ metres If you wish, you can obtain the same result by writing an equation choosing any other point as turning point.

Forces 7\ and T2 are resolved into components. a neat system of forces acting only along two lines at right-angles. The advantage is that we can write equilibrium conditions along each direction independently of the other. Equilibrium along the horizontal is unaffected by forces along the vertical. In other words, a force can have no component along a direction at right-angles to its line of action. If you tow a truck along a rail by walking alongside, pulling a rope attached to the truck, you can only cause it to move if the rope makes an angle of less than 90° with the rail, so that the tension of the rope has a forward component.

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