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Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

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EIM 116 Applied Mechanics 1

Edmund. S .Maputi

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

Vectors
1

Vectors and Scalars


A scalar is a quantity with magnitude (size) only for example, an amount
of money or a length of time.
Sometimes size alone is not enough to describe a quantity for example,
directions to the nearest shop. For this we need to know a magnitude (i.e.
how far), and a direction.
Quantities with both magnitude and direction are called vectors.
A vector is named either by using the points at the end of a directed line

segment (e.g. AB represents the vector starting at point A and ending at
point B) or by using a bold letter (e.g. u). You will see bold letters used in
printed text, but in handwriting you should just underline the letter (e.g. ).
B

Throughout these notes, we will show vectors bold and underlined (e.g. u ).

Components
A vector may be represented by its components, which we write in a
column. For example,

2
3 is a vector in two dimensions.

In this case the first component is 2 and this tells us to move 2 units in the
x-direction. The second component tells us to move 3 units in the ydirection. So if the vector starts at the origin, it will look like:
y
3

O
2

Edmund. S .Maputi

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

Note that we write the components in a column to avoid confusing them


2
with coordinates. The following diagram also shows the vector 3 , but in

this case it does not start at the origin.
y

(1,2 )

( 1,1)

Vectors in Three Dimensions


In a vector with three components, the first two tell us how many units to
move in the x- and y-directions, as before. The third component specifies
how far to move in the z-direction.
z
When looking at a pair of ( x , y ) -axes, the
z-axis points out of the page from the origin.

z
A set of 3D axes can be drawn on a page as
shown to the right.

x
For example,
4
3
1

is a vector in three dimensions. This vector is


shown in the diagram, starting from the origin.

O
4

1 3

Zero Vectors
Any vector with all its components zero is called a zero vector and can be
0
written as 0 , e.g. 0 = 0 .
0

Edmund. S .Maputi

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

Magnitude
The magnitude (or length) of a vector u is written as u . It can be
calculated as follows.
 a
If PQ = b then

 a
If PQ = b then
c


PQ = a 2 + b 2 .

PQ = a 2 + b 2 + c 2 .

EXAMPLES

5
1. Given u = 12 , find u .

u = 52 + ( 12 )2
= 169
= 13 units.

5
2. Find the length of a = 6 .
3

a =

( 5 )

+ 6 2 + 32

= 50
= 5 2 units.

Unit Vectors
Any vector with a magnitude of one is called a unit vector. For example:

if u =

1
2

( )

0 then u = 12
3
2
= 44

( )
3

+0 + 2

= 1 unit.
So u is a unit vector.

Edmund. S .Maputi

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

Distance in Three Dimensions


The distance between the points A and B is d AB = AB units.

 1
So given AB = 2 , we find d AB = ( 1)2 + 2 2 + 52 = 30 .
5

In fact, there is a three dimensional version of the distance formula.


The distance d between the points ( x1 , y1, z1 ) and ( x 2 , y2 , z2 ) is

( x2 x1 )2 + ( y2 y1 )2 + ( z2 z1 )2

d=

units.

EXAMPLE

Find the distance between the points ( 1,4,1) and ( 0,5, 7 ) .

The distance is
=

( x2 x1 )

+ ( y2 y1 ) + ( z2 z1 )

( 0 ( 1) )2 + (5 4 )2 + ( 7 1)2

= 12 + 12 + ( 8 )2
= 1 + 1 + 64
= 66 units.

Equal Vectors
Vectors with the same magnitude and direction are said to be equal.
For example, all the vectors shown to
the right are equal.
If vectors are equal to each other, then
all of their components are equal, i.e.

a d
if b = e
c f

s
t

then a = d , b = e and c = f .

Conversely, two vectors are only equal if all of their components are equal.

Edmund. S .Maputi

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

Addition and Subtraction of Vectors


Consider the following vectors:

Addition
We can construct a + b as follows:

a + b means a followed by b.

a +b

Similarly, we can construct a + b + c as follows:

a
a +b +c

a + b + c means a followed by b
followed by c .

To add vectors, we position them nose-to-tail. Then the sum of the vectors
is the vector between the first tail and the last nose.

Subtraction
Now consider a b . This can be written as a + ( b ) , so if we first find b
we can use vector addition to obtain a b .

b is just b but in the opposite direction.

b and b have the same magnitude, i.e. b = b .

Therefore we can construct a b as follows:

a b

Edmund. S .Maputi

a b means a followed by b.

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

Using Components
If we have the components of vectors, then things become much simpler.
The following rules can be used for addition and subtraction.
a d
b + e
c f

a + d
=b+e

c + f

add the components

a d
b e
c f

a d
= b e

c f

subtract the components

EXAMPLES

1
1

1. Given u = 5 and v = 2 , calculate u + v and u v .


0
2


1 1
u + v = 5 + 2
2 0

1 1
u v = 5 2
2 0

0
= 7
2

2
= 3 .
2

1
4

3
2. Given p = 2 and q = 3 , calculate p q and q + p .

6
3
5

4 1

p q = 32 3

6
3 5

1 4

q + p = 3 + 32

6 3
5

5
3
= 2
21
5

3
9
= 2 .
9
5

Edmund. S .Maputi

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

Multiplication by a Scalar
A vector u which is multiplied by a scalar k > 0 will give the result ku .
This vector will be k times as long, i.e. its magnitude will be k u .
Note that if k < 0 this means that the vector ku will be in the opposite
direction to u .

For example:

3u

If

a
u = b
c

2u

then

1u
2

ka
k u = kb .
kc

Each component is multiplied by the scalar.


EXAMPLES

1
1. Given v = 5 , find 3v .
3

1 3
3v = 3 5 = 15 .
3 9

6
2. Given r = 3 , find 4 r .
1

6 24
4r = 4 3 = 12 .
1 4

Edmund. S .Maputi

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

Negative Vectors
The negative of a vector is the vector multiplied by 1 .

 
If we write a vector as a directed line segment AB , then AB = BA :
B
B

 
AB
AB = BA
A

Position Vectors

OA is called the position vector of point A relative to the origin O, and is
written as a .

OB is called the position vector of point B, written b .
z

y
Given P ( x , y , z ) , the position vector OP or p
P
x
O
has components y .
z

x
y

To move from point A to point B we can move


back along the vector a to the origin, and
along vector b to point B, i.e.
  
AB = AO + OB
 
= OA + OB

a
B

b
O

= a + b
= b a.


For the vector joining any two points P and Q, PQ = q p .

Edmund. S .Maputi

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

10

EXAMPLE


R is the point ( 2, 2, 3 ) and S is the point ( 4, 6, 1) . Find RS .
2
4
From the coordinates, r = 2 and s = 6 .
3
1



RS = s r

Note
You dont need to write
this line down in the
exam.

4 2
= 6 2
1 3

2
= 8 .
4

Basis Vectors
A vector may also be defined in terms of the basis vectors i , j and k .

These are three mutually perpendicular unit vectors (i.e. they are
perpendicular to each other).

j
i

These basis vectors can be written in component form as

0
1
0
i = 0 , j = 1 and k = 0 .
0
0
1



Any vector can be written in basis form using i , j and k . For example:

2
1 0
0

v = 3 = 2 0 3 1 + 6 0 = 2i 3 j + 6 k .
6
0 0
1



There is no need for the working above if the following is used:

a
ai + b j + c k = b .
c

Edmund. S .Maputi

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

11

Collinearity
In Straight Lines (Unit 1 Outcome 1), we learned that points are collinear if
they lie on the same straight line.


The points A, B and C in 3D space are collinear if AB is parallel to BC ,
with B a common point.
Note that we cannot find gradients in three dimensions instead we use the
following.

Non-zero vectors are parallel if they are scalar multiples of the same vector.

For example:

2
u = 1 ,
4

2
6

v = 3 = 3 1 = 3u.

12

4
So u and v are parallel.

15
5

p = 9 = 3 3 ,
6
2

20
5

q = 12 = 4 3 .
8
2


So p and q are parallel.
EXAMPLE

A is the point (1, 2, 5 ) , B ( 8, 5, 9 ) and C ( 22, 11,17 ) .


Show that A, B and C are collinear.


BC = c b
AB = b a

8 1
= 5 2
9 5

22 8
= 11 5
17 9

7
7
14

= 6 = 2 3 .
= 3
4
4
8







BC = 2AB , so AB and BC are parallel, and since B is a common point,
A, B and C are collinear.

Edmund. S .Maputi

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

12

10 Dividing Lines in a Ratio


There is a simple process for finding the coordinates of a point which
divides a line segment in a given ratio.
EXAMPLE

1. P is the point ( 2, 4, 1) and R is the point ( 8, 1,19 ) .


The point T divides PR in the ratio 2 : 3 . Find the coordinates of T.

Step 1
Make a sketch of the line, showing the
ratio in which the point divides the line
segment.

Step 4
Rearrange to give the position vector of
the unknown point.

Step 2
Using the sketch, equate the ratio of the
two line segments with the given ratio.

Step 3
Cross multiply, then change directed
line segments to position vectors.

PT 2
=
TR 3


3PT = 2TR

3 t p = 2 (r t )
3t 3 p = 2r 2t
3t + 2t = 2r + 3 p
8 2
5t = 2 1 + 3 4
19 1

16 6
5t = 2 + 12
38 3

10
5t = 10
35

2
t = 2
7

Step 5
From the position vector, state the
coordinates of the unknown point.

Edmund. S .Maputi

So T is the point ( 2, 2, 7 ) .

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

13

Using the Section Formula


The previous method can be condensed into a formula as shown below.
If the point P divides the line AB in the ratio m : n , then

p=

n a + mb
,
n+m

where a , b and p are the position vectors of A, B and P respectively.


This is referred to as the section formula.
It is not necessary to know this, since the approach explained above will
always work.
EXAMPLE

2. P is the point ( 2, 4, 1) and R is the point ( 8, 1,19 ) .

The point T divides PR in the ratio 2 : 3 . Find the coordinates of T.

The ratio is 2 : 3 , so m = 2 and n = 3 . Hence:


n p + mr
t=
n+m
3 p + 2r
=
5
1 ( 3 ( 2 ) + 2 ( 8 ) )
15

= 5 ( 3 ( 4 ) + 2 ( 1) )
1 ( 3 ( 1) + 2 (19 ) )
5

2
= 2 .
7

Note
If you are confident with
arithmetic, this step can
be done mentally.

So T is the point ( 2, 2, 7 ) .

Edmund. S .Maputi

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

14

Further Examples
EXAMPLES

3. The cuboid OABCDEFG is shown in the diagram below.


E
F
H
D
A
G
B
O
C
The point A has coordinates ( 0,0,5 ) , C ( 8,0,0 ) and G ( 8,12,0 ) . The
point H divides BF in the ratio 4 :1. Find the coordinates of H.

From the diagram:


  

OH = OA + AB + 54 BF
 

= OA + OC + 54 CG

h = a + c + 54 g c

Note


BH 4
= , so BH = 45 BF.
BF 5

= a + c + 54 g 54 c
= a + 15 c + 54 g
0
8
8
1
4
= 0 + 5 0 + 5 12
5
0
0



8
.
= 48
5
5

So H has coordinates 8, 48
5 ,5 .

4. The points P ( 6,1, 3 ) , Q ( 8, 3,1) and R ( 9, 5,3 ) are collinear. Find


the ratio in which Q divides PR.


Since the points are collinear PQ = k QR for some k. Working with the
first components:

8 6 = k (9 8)
k = 2.


Therefore PQ = 2QR so Q divides PR in the ratio 2 :1.

Edmund. S .Maputi

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

Note
The ratio is 2 : 1 since
PQ 2
= .
QR 1

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

15

5. The points A ( 7, 4, 4 ) , B (13,5, 7 ) and C are collinear. Given that B


divides AC in the ratio 3 : 2 , find the coordinates of C.
 3 
AB = 5 AC

Note
A sketch may help you
to see this:
2
C
3
B
A

b a = 35 ( c a )
b a = 35 c 35 a
3c =b 2a
5
5
c = 53 b 23 a
13

= 53 5 32 4
4
7

17
= 11 .
9

So C has coordinates (17,11, 9 ) .

11 The Scalar Product


So far we have added and subtracted vectors and multiplied a vector by a
scalar. Now we will consider the scalar product, which is a form of vector
multiplication.

The scalar product is denoted by a .b (sometimes it is called the dot


product) and can be calculated using the formula:
a .b = a b cos ,

where is the angle between the two vectors a and b .


This is given in the exam.

Edmund. S .Maputi

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

16

The definition above assumes that the vectors a and b are positioned so
that they both point away from the angle, or both point into the angle.
a

However, if one vector is pointing away from the angle, while the other
points into the angle,
a

we find that a .b = a b cos .


EXAMPLES

1. Two vectors, a and b have magnitudes 7 and 3 units respectively and


are at an angle of 60 to each other as shown below.
b
60

What is the value of a .b ?

a.b = a b cos
= 7 3 cos 60
= 21 12
= 21
2.

2. The vector u has magnitude k and v is twice as long as u . The angle


between u and v is 30 , as shown below.
v
30

Find an expression for u.v in terms of k.


u.v = u v cos
= k 2k cos30
= 2k 2 23

Remember
When one vector points
in and one points out,
u.v =| u || v |cos .

= 3k 2 .

Edmund. S .Maputi

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

17

The Component Form of the Scalar Product


The scalar product can also be calculated as follows:

a.b = a1b1 + a2b2 + a3b3

b1
a1

where a = a2 and b = b2 .
b
a
3
3

This is given in the exam.


EXAMPLES

1
2

3. Find p.q , given that p = 2 and q = 2 .


3
3


p.q = p1q1 + p2q2 + p3q3
= (1 2 ) + ( 2 2 ) + ( ( 3 ) 3 )
=2+49
= 3.

4. If A is the point ( 2, 3, 9 ) , B (1, 4, 2 ) and C ( 1, 3, 6 ) , calculate


 
AB.AC .

C ( 1, 3, 6 )
B (1, 4, 2 )

We need to use the position vectors of the


points:


AB = b a
AC = c a

1 2
= 4 3
2 9

1
= 1
11

A ( 2, 3, 9 )

1 2
= 3 3
6 9

3
= 0 .
15

 
AB.AC = ( ( 1) ( 3 ) ) + (1 0 ) + ( ( 11) ( 15 ) )

= 3 + 0 + 165
= 168.

Edmund. S .Maputi

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

18

12 The Angle Between Vectors


The formulae for the scalar product can be rearranged to give the following
equations, both of which can be used to calculate , the angle between two
vectors.
cos =

a .b
a b

or

cos =

a1b1 + a2b2 + a3b3


.
a b

Look back to the formulae for finding the scalar product, given on the
previous pages. Notice that the first equation is simply a rearranged form of
the one which can be used to find the scalar product. Also notice that the
second simply substitutes a .b for the component form of the scalar
product.

These formulae are not given in the exam but can both be easily derived
from the formulae on the previous pages (which are given in the exam).

EXAMPLES

1. Calculate the angle between vectors p = 3i + 4 j 2 k and


q = 4i + j + 3k .

4
3
p = 4 and q = 1
3
2


cos =
=

p1q1 + p2q2 + p3q3


p q

( 3 4 ) + ( 4 1) + ( ( 2 ) 3 )

32 + 4 2 + ( 2 )2 42 + 12 + 32
10
=
29 26
10
= cos 1

29 26
= 68.6 (to 1 d.p.)

Edmund. S .Maputi

(or 1.198 radians (to 3 d.p.))

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

19

.
2. K is the point (1, 7, 2 ) , L ( 3, 3, 4 ) and M ( 2, 5,1) . Find KLM

Start with a sketch:

L ( 3, 3, 4 )

M ( 2, 5,1)
K (1, 7, 2 )
Now find the vectors pointing away from the angle:
1 3 4

LK = k l = 7 3 = 10 ,
2 4 2

2 3 5

LM = m l = 5 3 = 2 .
1 4 3

Use the scalar product to find the angle:
 
LK.LM
=  
cos KLM
LK LM

( 4 5) + ( 10 2 ) + ( 2 ( 3 ) )

4 2 + ( 10 )2 + ( 2 )2 52 + 22 + ( 3 )2
6
=
120 38
6

= cos 1
KLM
120 38

= 84.9 (to 1 d.p.) (or 1.482 radians (to 3 d.p.))

Edmund. S .Maputi

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

20

3. The diagram below shows the cube OPQRSTUV.


T

z
S

V
P

O
R

The point R has coordinates ( 4,0,0 ) .


(a) Write down the coordinates of T and U.


(b) Find the components of RT and RU .

(c) Calculate the size of angle TRU.

(a) From the diagram, T ( 0,4,4 ) and U ( 4,4,4 ) .

0 4 4

(b) RT = t r = 4 0 = 4 ,
4 0 4

4 4 0

RU = u r = 4 0 = 4 .
4 0 4

 
RT.RU
 =  
(c) cos TRU
RT RU
=

( 4 0 ) + ( 4 4 ) + ( 4 4 )
( 4 )2 + 42 + 42 02 + 42 + 42

32
3 16 2 16
2
=
6
 = cos 1 2
TRU
6
= 35.3 (to 1 d.p.)
=

Edmund. S .Maputi

(or 0.615 radians (to 3 d.p.))

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

21

13 Perpendicular Vectors
If a and b are perpendicular then a.b = 0 .

This is because a.b = a b cos


= a b cos90

( = 90 since perpendicular)

=0

(since cos90 = 0).

Conversely, if a.b = 0 then a and b are perpendicular.


EXAMPLES

1. Two vectors are defined as a = 4i + 2 j 5k and b = 2i + j + 2k .


Show that a and b are perpendicular.
a.b = a1b1 + a2b2 + a3b3
= ( 4 2 ) + ( 2 1) + ( ( 5 ) 2 )
= 8 + 2 10
= 0.
Since a.b = 0, a and b are perpendicular.

 4
 2
2. PQ = a and RS = 3 where a is a constant.
7
a




Given that PQ and RS are perpendicular, find the value of a.


Since PQ and RS are perpendicular,
 
PQ .RS = 0
4 2 + ( 3 a ) + 7 a = 0
8 3a + 7 a = 0
8 + 4a = 0
a = 2.

Edmund. S .Maputi

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

22

14 Properties of the Scalar Product


Some useful properties of the scalar product are as follows:

a.b = b.a
a. ( b + c ) = a.b + a.c

(Expanding brackets)

a.a = a .
Note that these are not given in the exam, so you need to remember them.
EXAMPLES

1. In the diagram, p = 3 , r = 4 and q = 2 .

Calculate p. q + r .

45
15 q

p. ( q + r ) = p.q + p.r

= p q cos 1 + p r cos 2
= 3 2 cos 60 + 3 4 cos 45
= 6 12 + 12 1

= 3 + 6 2.
2. In the diagram below, a = c = 2 and b = 2 3 .
a

30
Calculate a. ( a + b + c ) .

30

a. ( a + b + c )

= a.a + a.b + a.c


2

= a + a b cos 1 a c cos 2
= 22 + 2 2 3 cos30 2 2 cos120
= 4 + 4 3 23 + 4 12

Remember
a. c = a c cos 2
since a points into 2
and c points away.

=4+6+2
= 12.

Edmund. S .Maputi

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

23

15 The Fundamental Concepts and Principles of

Mechanics
15.1

The Fundamental Concepts

The four fundamental concepts used in mechanics are space, time, mass and force1. It is
not easy to define what these concepts are. Rather, one knows what they are, and they
take on precise meaning when they appear in the principles and equations of mechanics
discussed further below.
The concept of space is associated with the idea of the position of a point, which is
described using coordinates (x, y, z) relative to an origin o as illustrated in Fig. 14.1.
y

particle p

Figure 15.1: a particle in space

The time at which events occur must be recorded if a material is in motion. The concept
of mass enters Newtons laws (see below) and in that way is used to characterize the
relationship between the acceleration of a body and the forces acting on that body.
Finally, a force is something that causes matter to accelerate; it represents the action of
one body on another.

15.2

The Fundamental Principles

The fundamental laws of mechanics are Newtons three laws of motion. These are:
Newtons First Law:
if the resultant force acting on a particle is zero, the particle remains at rest (if originally
at rest) or will move with constant speed in a straight line (if originally in motion)

By resultant force, one means the sum of the individual forces which act; the resultant is
obtained by drawing the individual forces end-to-end, in what is known as the vector
1

or at least the only ones needed outside more advanced topics

Edmund. S .Maputi

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

24

polygon law; this is illustrated in Fig. 2.1.2, in which three forces F1 , F2 , F3 act on a
single particle, leading to a non-zero resultant force2 F.
F1

F1

F3

(a)

F2

F3

F1

F2

F2

F3

(b)

(c)

(d)

Figure 15.2: the resultant of a system of forces acting on a particle; (a) three
forces acting on a particle, (b) construction of the resultant F, (c) an alternative
construction, showing that the order in which the forces are drawn is
immaterial, (d) the resultant force acting on the particle

Example (illustrating Newtons First Law)

In Fig. 15.3 is shown a floating boat. It can be assumed that there are two forces acting on
the boat. The first is the boats weight Fg . There is also an upward buoyancy force

Fb exerted by the water on the boat. If these two forces are equal and opposite, the
resultant of these two forces will be zero, and therefore the boat will remain at rest (it will
not move up or down).

Fg

Fb

Figure 15.3: a zero resultant force acting on a boat

The resultant force acting on the particle of Fig. 15.2 is non-zero, and in that case one
applies Newtons second law:
2

the construction of the resultant force can be regarded also as a principle of mechanics, in that it is not
proved or derived, but is taken as given and is borne out by experiment

Edmund. S .Maputi

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

Course code : EIM116

Applied Mechanics 1

Introduction to Statics

25

Newtons Second Law:


if the resultant force acting on a particle is not zero, the particle will have an acceleration
proportional to the magnitude of the resultant force and in the direction of this resultant
force:
F ma

(15.1)

where3 F is the resultant force, a is the acceleration and m is the mass of the particle. The
units of the force are the Newton (N), the units of acceleration are metres per second
squared (m/s2), and those of mass are the kilogram (kg); a force of 1 N gives a mass of 1
kg an acceleration of 1 m/s2.
If the water were removed from beneath the boat of Fig. 15.3, a non-zero resultant force
would act, and the boat would accelerate downward4.

Newtons Third Law:


each force (of action) has an equal and opposite force (of reaction) Again,
considering the boat of Fig. 15.3, the water exerts an upward buoyancy force on
the boat, and the boat exerts an equal and opposite force on the water. This is illustrated
in Fig. 15.4.
Fb

Fb

surface of water

(a)
(b)
Figure 15.4: Newtons third law; (a) the water exerts a force on the
boat, (b) the boat exerts an equal and opposite force on the water

Newtons laws are used in the analysis of the most basic problems and in the analysis of
the most advanced, complex, problems. They appear in many guises and sometimes they
appear hidden, but they are always there in a Mechanics problem.
3

vector quantities, that is, quantities which have both a magnitude and a direction associated with them, are
represented by bold letters, like F here; scalars are represented by italics, like m here. The magnitude and
direction of vectors are illustrated using arrows as in Fig. 14.2
4
if we set F to be zero in Newtons Second Law, we get a 0 , which seems to be saying the same thing as
Newtons First Law, and in fact it appears to imply that Newtons First Law is redundant. For this reason,
Newtons First Law is not actually used in analyzing problems (much); it is necessary only to deal with
different frames of reference. For example, if you stand in an accelerating lift (your frame of reference) with
glass walls, it appears to you that you are stationary and it is the outside (a different reference frame)
which is accelerating, even though there is no force acting on the outside, which appears to be a
contradiction of Newtons Second Law. Newtons First Law discounts this option: it says that when the
force is zero, the body remains at rest or at uniform velocity. Newtons First Law implies that Newtons
Laws only apply to Inertial Frames, i.e. frames of reference in which a body remains at rest or uniform
velocity unless acted upon by a force

Edmund. S .Maputi

esmaputi@gmail.com, esmaputi@hit.ac.zw

I.M.E 2015

References
1. www.HSN.uk.net
2.http://homepages.engineering.auckland.ac.nz/~pkel015/SolidMechanicsBooks/Part_I/BookS
M_Part_I/02_Statics_of_Rigid_Bodies/02_Statics_of_Rigid_Bodies_01_Concepts.pdf