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Equilibrium

of Forces

Contents

1. Introduction.

2. Principles of Equilibrium.

3. Methods for the

Equilibrium of Coplanar

Forces.

4. Analytical Method for the

Equilibrium of Coplanar

Forces.

5. Lamis Theorem.

6. Graphical Method for the

Equilibrium of Coplanar

Forces.

7. Converse of the Law*of

Triangle of Forces.

8. Converse of the Law of

Polygon of Forces.

9. Conditions of Equilibrium.

10. Types of Equilibrium.

5

C H A P T E R C H A P T E R C H A P T E R C H A P T E R C H A P T E R

5.1. INTRODUCTION

In the previous chapter, we have discussed the

various methods of finding out resultant force, when

a particle is acted upon by a number of forces. This

resultant force will produce the same effect as

produced by all the given forces.

A little consideration will show, that if the

resultant of a number of forces, acting on a particle is

zero, the particle will be in equilibrium. Such a set

of forces, whose resultant is zero, are called

equilibrium forces.

The force, which brings the set of forces in

equilibrium is called an equilibrant.

As a matter of fact, the equilibrant is equal to

the resultant force in magnitude, but opposite in

direction.

Contents

56 A Textbook of Engineering Mechanics

5.2. PRINCIPLES OF EQUILIBRIUM

Though there are many principles of equilibrium, yet the following three are important from

the subject point of view :

1. Two force principle. As per this principle, if a body in equilibrium is acted upon by two

forces, then they must be equal, opposite and collinear.

2. Three force principle. As per this principle, if a body in equilibrium is acted upon by three

forces, then the resultant of any two forces must be equal, opposite and collinear with the

third force.

3. Four force principle. As per this principle, if a body in equilibrium is acted upon by four

forces, then the resultant of any two forces must be equal, opposite and collinear with the

resultant of the other two forces.

5.3. METHODS FOR THE EQUILIBRIUM OF COPLANAR FORCES

Though there are many methods of studying the equilibrium of forces, yet the following are

important from the subject point of view :

1. Analytical method. 2. Graphical method.

5.4. ANALYTICAL METHOD FOR THE EQUILIBRIUM OF COPLANAR FORCES

The equilibrium of coplanar forces may be studied, analytically, by Lamis theorem as dis-

cussed below :

5.5. LAMIS THEOREM

It states, If three coplanar forces acting at a point be in

equilibrium, then each force is proportional to the sine of the angle

between the other two. Mathematically,

sin sin sin

P Q R

= =

where, P, Q, and R are three forces and , , are the angles as shown in

Fig. 5.1.

Proof

Consider three coplanar forces P, Q, and R acting at a

point O. Let the opposite angles to three forces be , and as

shown in Fig. 5.2.

Now let us complete the parallelogram OACB with OA

and OB as adjacent sides as shown in the figure. We know that

the resultant of two forces P and Q will be given by the diagonal

OC both in magnitude and direction of the parallelogram OACB.

Since these forces are in equilibrium, therefore the re-

sultant of the forces P and Q must be in line with OD and equal

to R, but in opposite direction.

From the geometry of the figure, we find

BC = P and AC = Q

AOC = (180 )

and ACO = BOC = (180 )

Fig. 5.1. Lamis theorem

Fig. 5.2. Proof of Lamis theorem

Contents

Chapter 5 : Equilibrium of Forces 57

CAO = 180 ( AOC + ACO)

= 180 [(180 ) + (180 )]

= 180 180 + 180 +

= + 180

But + + = 360

Subtracting 180 from both sides of the above equation,

( + 180) + = 360 180 = 180

or CAO = 180

We know that in triangle AOC,

sin sin sin

OA AC OC

ACO AOC CAO

= =

sin (180 ) sin (180 ) sin (180 )

OA AC OC

= =

or

sin sin sin

P Q R

= =

...[Q sin (180 ) = sin ]

Example 5.1. An electric light fixture weighting 15 N hangs from a point C, by two strings

AC and BC. The string AC is inclined at 60 to the horizontal and BC at 45 to the horizontal as

shown in Fig. 5.3

Fig. 5.3.

Using Lamis theorem, or otherwise, determine the forces in the strings AC and BC.

Solution. Given : Weight at C = 15 N

Let T

AC

= Force in the string AC, and

T

BC

= Force in the string BC.

The system of forces is shown in Fig. 5.4. From the geometry of the

figure, we find that angle between T

AC

and 15 N is 150 and angle between

T

BC

and 15 N is 135.

ACB = 180 (45 + 60) = 75

Applying Lamis equation at C,

15

sin 75 sin135 sin150

AC BC

T T

= =

or

15

sin 75 sin 45 sin30

AC BC

T T

= =

15sin 45 15 0.707

10.98N .

sin 75 0.9659

AC

T

= = =

Ans

Fig. 5.4.

Contents

58 A Textbook of Engineering Mechanics

and

15sin30 15 0.5

7.76N .

sin 75 0.9659

BC

T

= = =

Ans

Example 5.2. A string ABCD, attached to fixed points A and D has two equal weihts of

1000 N attached to it at B and C. The weights rest with the portions AB and CD inclined at angles as

shown in Fig. 5.5.

Fig. 5.5.

Find the tensions in the portions AB, BC and CD of the string, if the inclination of the portion

BC with the vertical is 120.

Solution. Given : Load at B = Load at C = 1000 N

For the sake of convenience, let us split up the string ABCD into two parts. The system of

forces at joints B and is shown in Fig. 5.6 (a) and (b).

Fig. 5.6.

Let T

AB

= Tension in the portion AB of the string,

T

BC

= Tension in the portion BC of the string, and

T

CD

= Tension in the portion CD of the string.

Applying Lamis equation at joint B,

1000

sin 60 sin150 sin150

BC AB

T T

= =

1000

sin 60 sin30 sin30

BC AB

T T

= =

...[Q sin (180 ) = sin ]

1000 sin60 1000 0.866

1732 N

sin30 0.5

AB

T

= = =

Ans.

and

1000 sin30

1000N

sin30

BC

T

= =

Ans.

Contents

Chapter 5 : Equilibrium of Forces 59

Again applying Lamis equation at joint C,

1000

sin 120 sin 120 sin 120

BC CD

T T

= =

1000N .

sin 120

CD

T

= =

Ans

Example 5.3. A light string ABCDE whose extremity A is fixed, has weights W

1

and W

2

attached to it at B and C. It passes round a small smooth peg at D carrying a weight of 300 N at the

free end E as shown in Fig. 5.7.

Fig. 5.7.

If in the equilibrium position, BC is horizontal and AB and CD make 150 and 120 with BC,

find (i) Tensions in the portion AB, BC and CD of the string and (ii) Magnitudes of W

1

and W

2

.

Solution. Given : Weight at E = 300 N

For the sake of convenience, let us split up the string ABCD into two parts. The system of

forces at joints B and C is shown in Fig. 5.8. (a) and (b).

Fig. 5.8.

(i) Tensions is the portion AB, BC and CD of the string

Let T

AB

= Tension in the portion AB, and

T

BC

= Tension in the portion BC,

We know that tension in the portion CD of the string.

T

CD

= T

DE

= 300 N Ans.

Applying Lamis equation at C,

2

300

sin 150 sin 120 sin 90

BC

T W

= =

Contents

60 A Textbook of Engineering Mechanics

2

300

sin 30 sin 60 1

BC

T W

= =

...[Q sin (180 ) = sin ]

T

BC

= 300 sin 30 = 300 0.5 = 150 N Ans.

and W

2

= 300 sin 60 = 300 0.866 = 259.8 N

Again applying Lamis equation at B,

1

sin 90 sin 150 sin 120

BC AB

T T W

= =

1

150

1 sin 30 sin 60

AB

T W

= =

...[Q sin (180 ) = sin ]

150 150

173.2 N

sin 60 0.866

AB

T = = =

Ans.

and

1

150sin 30 150 0.5

86.6N

sin 60 0.866

W

= = =

(ii) Magnitudes of W

1

and W

2

From the above calculations, we find that the magnitudes of W

1

and W

2

are 86.6 N and

259.8 N respectively. Ans.

EXERCISE 5.1

1. Two men carry a weight of 2 kN by means of two ropes fixed to the weight. One rope is

inclined at 45 and the other at 30 with their vertices. Find the tension in each rope.

[Ans. 1.04 kN ; 1.46 kN]

2. Three forces acting on a particle are in equilibrium. The angles between the first and

second is 90 and that between the second and third is 120. Find the ratio of the forces.

[Ans. 1.73 : 1 : 2]

3. A smooth sphere of weight W is supported by a string fastened to a point A on the smooth

vertical wall, the other end is in contact with point B on the wall as shown in Fig. 5.9

Fig. 5.9. Fig. 5.10.

If length of the string AC is equal to radius of the sphere, find tension (T) in the string and

reaction of the wall. [Ans. 1.155 W ; 0.577 W]

Hint. Since AO = 2 OB, therefore AOB = 60

Contents

Chapter 5 : Equilibrium of Forces 61

4. A rope is connected between two points A and B 120 cm apart at the same level. A load of

200 N is suspended from a point C on the rope 45 cm from A as shown in Fig. 5.10. Find

the load, that should be suspended from the rope D 30 cm from B, which will keep the

rope CD horizontal. [Ans. 400 N]

5. A uniform sphere of weight W rests between a smooth vertical plane and a smooth plane

inclined at an angle with the vertical plane. Find the reaction at the contact surfaces.

[Ans. W cot ; W cosec ]

Example 5.4. Two equal heavy spheres of 50 mm radius are in equilibrium within a smooth

cup of 150 mm radius. Show that the reaction between the cup of one sphere is double than that

between the two spheres.

Solution. Given : Radius of spheres = 50 mm and radius of the cup = 150 mm.

Fig. 5.11.

The two spheres with centres A and B, lying in equilibrium, in the cup with O as centre are

shown in Fig. 5.11 (a). Let the two spheres touch each other at C and touch the cup at D and E

respectively.

Let R = Reactions between the spheres and cup, and

S = Reaction between the two spheres at C.

From the geometry of the figure, we find that OD = 150 mm and AD = 50 mm. Therefore OA

= 100 mm. Similarly OB = 100 mm. We also find that AB = 100 mm. Therefore OAB is an equilateral

triangle. The system of forces at A is shown in Fig. 5.11 (b).

Applying Lamis equation at A,

sin 90 sin 120 sin 150

R W S

= =

1 sin 60 sin 30

R W S

= =

2

sin 30 0.5

S S

R S = = =

Hence the reaction between the cup and the sphere is double than that between the two

spheres. Ans.

Example 5.5. A smooth circular cylinder of radius 1.5 meter is lying in a triangular groove,

one side of which makes 15 angle and the other 40 angle with the horizontal. Find the reactions at

the surfaces of contact, if there is no friction and the cylinder weights 100 N.

Contents

62 A Textbook of Engineering Mechanics

Solution. Given : Weight of cylinder = 100 N

Fig. 5.12.

Let R

A

= Reaction at A, and

R

B

= Reaction at B.

The smooth cylinder lying in the groove is shown in Fig. 5.12 (a). In order to keep the system

in equilibrium, three forces i.e. R

A

, R

B

and weight of cylinder (100 N) must pass through the centre of

the cylinder. Moreover, as there is no *friction, the reactions R

A

and R

B

must be normal to the surfaces

as shown in Fig. 5.12 (a). The system of forces is shown in Fig. 5.12 (b).

Applying Lamis equation, at O,

100

sin (180 40 ) sin(180 15 ) sin (15 40 )

A B

R R

= =

+

or

100

sin 40 sin 15 sin 55

A B

R R

= =

78.5N

sin 55 0.8192

A

R

= = =

Ans.

and

100 sin 15 100 0.2588

31.6N

sin 55 0.8192

B

R

= = =

Ans.

Example 5.6. Two cylinders P and Q rest in a channel as shown in Fig. 5.13.

Fig. 5.13.

The cylinder P has diameter of 100 mm and weighs 200 N, whereas the cylinder Q has diameter

of 180 mm and weighs 500 N.

* This point will be discussed in more details in the chapter of Principles of Friction.

Contents

Chapter 5 : Equilibrium of Forces 63

If the bottom width of the box is 180 mm, with one side vertical and the other inclined at 60,

determine the pressures at all the four points of contact.

Solution. Given : Diameter of cylinder P = 100 mm ; Weight of cylinder P = 200 N ; Diameter

of cylinder Q = 180 mm ; Weight of cylinder Q = 500 N and width of channel = 180 mm.

First of all, consider the equilibrium of the cylinder P. It is in equilibrium under the

action of the following three forces which must pass through A i.e., the centre of the cylinder P as

shown in Fig. 5.14 (a).

1. Weight of the cylinder (200 N) acting downwards.

2. Reaction (R

1

) of the cylinder P at the vertical side.

3. Reaction (R

2

) of the cylinder P at the point of contact with the cylinder Q.

From the geometry of the figure, we find that

100

Radius of cylinder = 50 mm

2

ED P = =

Similarly BF = Radius of cylinder Q

180

90 mm

2

= =

and BCF = 60

cot 60 90 0.577 52 mm CF BF = = =

FE = BG = 180 (52 + 50) = 78 mm

and AB = 50 + 90 = 140 mm

78

cos 0.5571

140

BG

ABG

AB

= = =

or ABG = 56.1

The system of forces at A is shown in Fig. 5.14 (b).

Fig. 5.14.

Applying Lamis equation at A,

1 2

200

sin (90 56.1 ) sin 90 sin (180 56.1 )

R R

= =

+

1 2

200

cos 56.1 1 sin 56.1

R R

= =

Contents

64 A Textbook of Engineering Mechanics

1

200 cos 56.1 200 0.5571

134.2 N .

sin 56.1 0.830

R

= = =

Ans

and

2

200 200

240.8 N .

sin 56.1 0.8300

R = = =

Ans

Now consider the equilibriXum of the cylinder Q. It is in equilibrium under the action of the

following four forces, which must pass through the centre of the cylinder as shown in Fig. 5.15 (a).

1. Weight of the cylinder Q (500 N) acting downwards.

2. Reaction R

2

equal to 240.8 N of the cylinder P on cylinder Q.

3. Reaction R

3

of the cylinder Q on the inclined surface.

4. Reaction R

4

of the cylinder Q on the base of the channel.

Fig. 5.15.

A little consideration will show, that the weight of the cylinder Q is acting downwards and the

reaction R

4

is acting upwards. Moreover, their lines of action also coincide with each other.

Net downward force = (R

4

500) N

The system of forces is shown in Fig. 5.15 (b).

Applying Lamis equation at B,

3 4

500 240.8

sin (90 56.1 ) sin 60 sin (180 30 56.1 )

R R

= =

+ +

3 4

500 240.8

cos 56.1 sin 60 sin 26.1

R R

= =

3

240.8 cos 56.1 240.8 0.5577

155 N .

sin 60 0.866

R

= = =

Ans

and 4

240.8 sin 26.1 240.8 399

500 122.3 N

sin 60 0.866

R

= = =

R

4

= 122.3 + 500 = 622.3 N Ans.

Contents

Chapter 5 : Equilibrium of Forces 65

Example 5.7. Three cylinders weighting 100 N each and of 80 mm diameter are placed in a

channel of 180 mm width as shown in Fig. 5.16.

Fig. 5.16.

Determine the pressure exerted by (i) the cylinder A on B at the point of contact (ii) the

cylinder B on the base and (iii) the cylinder B on the wall.

Solution. Given : Weight of each cylinder = 100 N ; Dia. of each cylinder = 80 mm and

width of channel = 180 mm

(i) Pressure exerted by the cylinder A on the cylinder B

Let R

1

= Pressure exerted by the cylinder A on B. It is also equal to pressure

exerted by the cylinder A on B.

First of all, consider the equilibrium of the cylinder A. It is in equilibrium under the action of

the following forces, which must pass through the centre of the cylinder as shown in Fig. 5.17 (a).

1. Weight of the cylinder 100 N acting downwards.

2. Reaction R

1

of the cylinder B on the cylinder A.

3. Reaction R

2

of the cylinder C on the cylinder A.

Now join the centres O, P and Q of the three cylinders. Bisect PQ at S and join OS as shown

in Fig. 5.17 (b).

Fig. 5.17.

From the geometry of the triangle OPS, we find that

OP = 40 + 40 = 80 mm

and PS = 90 40 = 50 mm

50

sin 0.625

80

PS

POS

OP

= = =

or POS = 38.7

Contents

66 A Textbook of Engineering Mechanics

Since the triangle OSQ is similar to the triangle OPS, therefore SOQ is also equal

to 38.7. Thus the angle between R

1

and R

2

is 2 38.7 = 77.4.

And angle between R

1

and OS (also between R

2

and OS)

= 180 38.7 = 141.3

The system of forces at O is shown in Fig. 5.17 (b). Applying Lamis equation at O,

1 2

100

sin 141.3 sin 141.3 sin 77.4

R R

= =

1 2

100

sin 38.7 sin 38.7 sin 77.4

R R

= =

...[Q sin (180 ) = sin ]

1

100 sin 38.7 100 0.6252

= 64.0 N

sin 77.4 0.9759

R

= =

Ans.

Similarly R

2

= R

1

= 64.0 N Ans.

(ii) Pressure exerted by the cylinder B on the base

Let R

3

= Pressure exerted by the cylinder B on the wall, and

R

4

= Pressure exerted by the cylinder B on the base.

Fig. 5.18.

Now consider the equilibrium of the cylinder B. It is in equilibrium under the action of the

following forces, which must pass through the centre of the cylinder as shown in Fig. 5.18 (a).

1. Weight of the cylinder 100 N acting downwards.

2. Reaction R

2

equal to 64.0 N of the cylinder A on the cylinder B.

3. Reaction R

3

of the cylinder B on the vertical side of the channel.

4. Reaction R

4

of the cylinder B on the base of the channel.

A little consideration will show that weight of the cylinder B is acting downwards and the

reaction R

4

is acting upwards. Moreover, their lines of action also coincide with each other.

Therefore net downward force will be equal to (R

4

100) N.

The system of forces is shown in Fig. 5.18 (b). Applying Lamis equation at P,

3 4

( 100) 64

sin 90 sin (180 38.7 ) sin (90 38.7 )

R R

= =

+

3 4

100 64

1 sin 38.7 cos 38.7

R R

= =

R

4

100 = 64 cos 38.7 = 64 0.7804 = 50 N

Contents

Chapter 5 : Equilibrium of Forces 67

or R

4

= 50 + 100 = 150 N Ans.

(iii) Pressure exerted by the cylinder B on the wall

From the above Lamis equation, we also find that

R

3

= 64 sin 38.7 = 64 0.6252 = 40 N Ans.

Note. Since the cylinders B and C are symmetrically placed, therefore pressures exerted

by the cylinder C on the wall as well as channel will be the same as those exerted by the cylinder B.

Example 5.8. A uniform rod AB remains in equilibrium position resting on a smooth inclined

planes AC and BC, which are at an angle of 90 as shown in figure given below :

Fig. 5.19.

If the plane BC makes an angle of with the horizontal, then what is the inclination of the

rod AB with the plane AC.

Solution. The rod is in equilibrium under the action of the following three forces,

1. Weight of the rod acting vertically through the mid-point G of the rod AB.

2. Reaction R

A

at A normal to the plane AC, and

3. Reaction R

B

at B normal to the plane BC.

Let these three forces meet at point D as shown in fig. 5.20

Fig. 5.20.

Since AD is perpendicular to AC and BD is perpendicular to BC, therefore AD is parallel to BC

and BD is parallel to AC.

and ADB = 90

The figure ADBC is a rectangle whose diagonal DGC is vertical

GA = GC

GAC = GCA

= Ans.

Contents

68 A Textbook of Engineering Mechanics

Example 5.9. A uniform rod AB of length 3r remains in equilibrium on a hemispherical

bowl of radius r as shown in Fig. 5.21.

Fig. 5.21.

Ignoring friction find the inclination of the rod () with the horizontal.

Solution. Given : Length of the rod AB = 3r and radius of hemispherical ball = r

The rod is in equilibrium under the action of the following three forces as shown in Fig. 5.22.

1. Weight of the rod (W) acting vertically downwords through the mid-point G of the

rod AB

2. Reaction at A acting in the direction AO

3. Reaction at C acting at the right angle to AB

Fig. 5.22.

From the geometry of the figure we know that

AD = 2r

AC = AD cos = 2r cos

CD = AD sin = 2r sin

AG = GB = 1.5r

GC = AC AG = 2r cos 1.5r

From the geometry of the figure we also find that

GDC =

2 cos 1.5 (2cos 1.5)

tan tan

2 sin 2 sin

GC r r r

GDC

CD r r

= = = =

or

sin 2cos 1.5

cos 2sin

=

2 sin

2

= 2 cos

2

1.5 cos

2 (cos

2

sin

2

) = 1.5 cos

2 (2 cos

2

1) = 1.5 cos

4 cos

2

1.5 cos 2 = 0

Contents

Chapter 5 : Equilibrium of Forces 69

Solving it as a quardrotic equation,

1.5 2.25 32

cos 0.9 or 25.8 .

8

+ +

= = = Ans

Example 5.10. Fig. 5.23 shows a shear leg crane lifting a load of 250 kN.

Fig. 5.23.

The legs BC and BE are 20 m long and 10 m apart at the base. The back stay AB is 25 m long.

If all the members are pin-jointed at A, C and E, at the same level, find the forces in all the three

members of the crane.

Solution. Given : Weight at B = 250 kN

Let P = Force in each members BC and BE, and

T = Force in the member AB.

From the geometry of the figure, we find that the points ABDF lie in one vertical plane, in

which AFB is a right angle. Moreover, the points BCDE also lie in one plane, in which BDC

and BDE are also right angles and D is in the mid point of C and E.

Fig. 5.24. Fig. 5.25.

First of all, draw the isosceles triangle BCE with BC and BE each equal to 20 m and CE

equal to 10 m with D as mid point of C and E as shown in Fig. 5.24.

Now in triangle BCD, we find that

5

sin 0.25

20

= = or = 14.5

and

2 2

(20) (5) 19.36 m BD = =

Now draw the triangle ABF with DF equal to 8 m, AFB equal to 90, DB equal to 19.36

m and AB equal to 25 m as shown in Fig. 5.25.

Contents

70 A Textbook of Engineering Mechanics

Fig. 5.26.

From the geometry of the triangle BDF, we find that

8

sin 0.4132 or 24.4

19.36

DF

BD

= = = =

and

2 2

(19.36) (8) 17.63 m BF = =

From the geometry of the triangle ABF, we also find that

17.63

cos 0.7052

25

BF

ABF

AB

= = = or ABF = 45.1

= 45.1 24.4 = 20.7

We know that resultant of the forces in members BC and BE (acting along BD)

R = 2P cos = 2P cos 14.5

= 2P 0.9680 = 1.936 P

The system of forces acting at B is shown in Fig 5.26.

Applying Lamis equation at B,

1.936 250

sin (180 24.4 ) sin 45.1 sin (180 20.7 )

T P

= =

1.936 250

sin 24.4 sin 45.1 sin 20.7

T P

= =

291.5 kN .

sin 20.7 0.3543

T

= = =

Ans

and

250 sin 45.1 250 0.7090

258.4 kN .

1.936 sin 20.7 1.936 0.3543

P

= = =

Ans

5.6. GRAPHICAL METHOD FOR THE EQUILIBRIUM OF COPLANAR FORCES

We have studied in Art 5.5 the equilibrium of forces by analytical method. Sometimes, the

analytical method is too tedious and complicated. The equilibrium of such forces may also be studied,

graphically, by drawing the vector diagram. This may also be done by studying the

1. Converse of the Law of Triangle of Forces.

2. Converse of the Law of Polygon of Forces.

Contents

Chapter 5 : Equilibrium of Forces 71

5.7. CONVERSE OF THE LAW* OF TRIANGLE OF FORCES

If three forces acting at a point be represented in magnitude and direction by the three sides a

triangle, taken in order, the forces shall be in equilibrium.

5.8. CONVERSE OF THE LAW

OF POLYGON OF FORCES

If any number of forces acting at a point be represented in magnitude and direction by the sides

of a closed polygon, taken in order, the forces shall be in equilibrium.

Example 5.11. An electric light fixture weighing 15 N hangs from a point C, by two strings AC

and BC. The string AC is inclined at 60 to the horizontal and BC at 45 to the horizontal as shown

in Fig. 5.27.

Fig. 5.27.

Using Lamis theorem, or otherwise, determine the forces in the strings AC and BC.

Solution. Given. Weight at C = 15 N

Let T

AC

= Force in the string AC, and

T

BC

= Force in the string BC.

First of all, draw the space diagram for the joint C and name the forces according to Bows

notations as shown in Fig. 5.28 (a). The force T

AC

is named as RQ and the force T

BC

as PR.

Fig. 5.28.

Now draw the vector diagram for the given system of forces as shown in Fig. 5.28 (b) and as

discussed below :

* Triangle Law of Forces states, If two forces acting simultaneously on a particle be repressented in

magnitude and direction by the two sides of a triangle taken in order, their resultant may be represented

in magnitude and direction by the third side of the triangle, taken in the opposite order.

Polygon Law of Forces states, If a number of forces acting simultaneously on a particle be represented in

magnitude and direction by the side of the a polygon taken in order, then the resultant of all these forces

may be represented in magnitude and direction by the closing side of the polygon, taken in the opposite

order.

We have already solved this example analytically as 5.1.

Contents

72 A Textbook of Engineering Mechanics

1. Select some suitable point p and draw a vertical line pq equal to 15 N to some suitable

scale representing weight (PQ) of the electric fixture.

2. Through p draw a line pr parallel to PR and through q, draw a line qr parallel to QR. Let

these two lines meet at r and close the triangle pqr, which means that joint C is in

equilibrium.

3. By measurement, we find that the forces in strings AC (T

AC

) and BC (T

PC

) is equal to

1.0 N and 7.8 N respectively. Ans.

Example 5.12. Five strings are tied at a point and are pulled in all directions, equally

spaced from one another. If the magnitude of the pulls on three consecutive strings is 50 N, 70 N and

60 N respectively, find graphically the magnitude of the pulls on two other strings.

Solution. Given : Pulls = 50 N ; 70 N and 60 N and angle between the forces =

360

72

5

= .

Let P

1

and P

2

= Pulls in the two strings.

First of all, let us draw the space diagram for the given system of forces and name them

according to Bows notations as shown in Fig 5.29 (a).

Fig. 5.29.

Now draw the vector diagram for the given forces as shown in Fig. 5.29 (b) and as discussed below :

1. Select some suitable point a and draw a horizontal line ab equal to 50 N to some suitable

scale representing the force AB.

2. Through b draw a line bc equal to 70 N to the scale and parallel to BC.

3. Similarly through c, draw cd equal to 60 N to the scale and parallel to CD.

4. Through d draw a line parallel to the force P

1

of the space diagram.

5. Similarly through a draw a line parallel to the force P

2

meeting the first line at e, thus

closing the polygon abcde, which means that the point is in equilibrium.

6. By measurement, we find that the forces P

1

= 57.5 N and P

2

= 72.5 N respectively. Ans.

5.9. CONDITIONS OF EQUILIBRIUM

Consider a body acted upon by a number of coplaner non-concurrent forces. A little consider-

ation will show, that as a result of these forces, the body may have any one of the following states:

1. The body may move in any one direction.

2. The body may rotate about itself without moving.

3. The body may move in any one direction and at the same time it may also rotate about

itself.

4. The body may be completely at rest.

Contents

Chapter 5 : Equilibrium of Forces 73

Now we shall study the above mentioned four states one by one.

1. If the body moves in any direction, it means that there is a resultant force acting on it. A

little consideration will show, that if the body is to be at rest or in equilibrium, the resultant

force causing movement must be zero. Or in other words, the horizontal component of all

the forces ( H) and vertical component of all the forces (V) must be zero. Mathemati-

cally,

H = 0 and V = 0

2. If the body rotates about itself, without moving, it means that there is a single resultant

couple acting on it with no resultant force. A little consideration will show, that if the body

is to be at rest or in equilibrium, the moment of the couple causing rotation must be zero.

Or in other words, the resultant moment of all the forces ( M) must be zero. Mathemati-

cally,

M = 0

3. If the body moves in any direction and at the same time it rotates about itself, if means that

there is a resultant force and also a resultant couple acting on it. A little consideration will

show, that if the body is to be at rest or in equilibrium, the resultant force causing move-

ments and the reusltant moment of the couple causing rotation must be zero. Or in other

words, horizontal component of all the forces ( H), vertical component of all the forces

( V) and resultant moment of all the forces ( M) must be zero. Mathematically,

H = 0 V = 0 and M = 0

4. If the body is completely at rest, it necessarily means that there is neither a resultant force

nor a couple acting on it. A little consideration will show, that in this case the following

conditions are already satisfied :

H = 0 V = 0 and M = 0

The above mentioned three equations are known as the conditions of equilibrium.

5.10. TYPES OF EQUILIBRIUM

In the previous article, we have discussed the conditions of equilibrium. As a matter of fact,

these conditions help us in finding out the reactions or forces at a particular point, when the body is in

equilibrium. But from practical point of view, a body is said to be in equilibrium when it comes back

to its original position, after it is slightly displaced from its position of rest. In general, following are

the three types of equilibrium :

When an aircraft is flying level at a constant speed all four forces are in balance or equilibrium.

Contents

74 A Textbook of Engineering Mechanics

1. Stable equilibrium

Fig. 5.30.

A body is said to be in stable equilibrium, if it returns back to its original position, after it is

slightly displaced from its position of rest. This happens when some additional force sets up due to

displacement and brings the body back to its original position. A smooth cylinder, lying in a curved

surface, is in stable equilibrium. If we slightly displace the cylinder from its position of rest (as shown

by dotted lines), it will tend to return back to its original position in order to bring its weight normal

to horizontal axis as shown in Fig. 5.30 (a).

2. Unstable equilibrium

A body is said to be in an unstable equilibrium, if it does not return back to its original position,

and heels farther away, after slightly displaced from its position of rest. This happens when the addtional

force moves the body away from its position of rest. This happens when the additional force moves

the body away from its position of rest. A smooth cylinder lying on a convex surface is in unstable

equilibrium. If we slightly displace the cylinder from its position of rest (as shown by dotted lines) the

body will tend to move away from its original position as shown in Fig. 5.30 (b).

3. Neutral equilibrium

A body is said to be in a neutral equilibrium, if it occupies a new position (and remains at rest

in this position) after slightly displaced from its position of rest. This happens when no additional

force sets up due to the displacement. A smooth cylinder lying on a horizontal plane is in neutral

equilibrium as shown in Fig. 5.30 (c).

Example 5.13. A revolving crane is supported by a point at C and rollers at A and B. The

crane carries a load P applied at D in addition to its own weight W at E as shown in Fig. 5.31.

Fig. 5.31.

Determine the reactions R

B

and R

C

at the points B and C, if P = 4 kN, W = 2 kN,

a = 30 m, b = 09 m and c = 18 m. Neglect friction.

Contents

Chapter 5 : Equilibrium of Forces 75

Solution. Given : Load at D (P) = 4 kN ; Load at E (W) = 2 kN; a = 30 m ; b = 09 m

and c = 1.8 m

Now let us use the conditions of equilibrium one by one.

H

C

= R

B

...(For H = 0)

V

C

= P + W = 4 + 2 = 6 kN ...(For V = 0)

and R

B.C

= P.a + W.b ...(For M = 0 about C)

R

B

1.8 = (4 3.0) + (2 0.9) = 13.8

or

13.8

7.67 kN

1.8

B

R = =

Ans.

and H

C

= R

B

= 7.67 kN Ans.

Now the reaction at C,

2 2 2 2

7.67 6 9.74 kN .

C C C

R H V = + = + = Ans

EXERCISE 5.2

1. A spherical ball of weight 50 N is suspended vertically by a string 500 mm long. Find the

magnitude and direction of the least force, which can hold the ball 100 mm above the

lowest point. Also find tension in the string at that point. [Ans. 30 N ; 40 N]

Hint. The force will be least, when it is applied at an angle of 90 with the string.

2. A jib crane shown in Fig. 5.32 is required to lift a load of 5 kN. Find, graphically, the

forces in the jib and tie. Also check the answer analytically.

[Ans. 13.7 kN (tension) ; 9.7 kN (compression)]

Fig. 5.32. Fig. 5.33.

3. Two smooth spheres of weight W and radius r each are in equilibrium in a horizontal

channel of A and B vertical sides as shown in Fig. 5.33.

Find the force exerted by each sphere on the other. Calculate these values, if r = 250 mm,

b = 900 mm and W = 100 N. [Ans. 133.3 N ; 166.7 N ; 133.3 N ; 200 N]

Contents

76 A Textbook of Engineering Mechanics

4. A ladle is lifted by means of three chains each 2 m in length. The upper ends of the chains

are attached to a ring, while the lower ends are attached to three hooks, fixed to the ladle

forming an equilateral triangle of 1.2 metre side as shown in Fig. 5.34.

Fig. 5.34.

If weight of the ladle and its contents is 5 kN, find tension in each rope. [Ans. 1.78 kN]

Hint. First of all locate the point G of the equilateral triangle ABC. Now consider the

right angled triangle AOG and resolve the forces vertically.

5. A spherical ball, of weight W, rests in a triangular groove whose sides are inclined

at angles and to the horizontal. Find the reactions at the surfaces of contact.

If a similar ball is now placed, so as to rest above the first ball, one side of which is

inclined at angle , find the reaction of the lower ball, on the surface inclined at an

angle .

sin sin 2 sin

; ;

sin ( ) sin ( ) sin ( )

W W W

+ + +

Ans.

QUESTIONS

1. Enunciate any two principles of equilibrium.

2. State and prove Lamis Theorem.

3. Show that if three coplaner forces, acting at a point be in equilibrium, then, each force is

proportional to the sine of the angle between the other two.

4. What are different methods of studying the equilibrium of coplaner forces ? Describe any

one of them.

5. How would you find out the equilibrium of non-coplaner forces ?

6. Explain the conditions of equilibrium.

7. Discuss the various types of equilibrium.

OBJECTIVE TYPE QUESTIONS

1. According to Lamis Theorem, the three forces

(a) Must be equal.

(b) Must be at 120 to each other.

(c) Must be both of above.

(d) May not be any of the two.

Contents

Chapter 5 : Equilibrium of Forces 77

2. The Lamis Theorem is applicable only for

(a) Coplaner forces (b) Concurrent forces

(c) Coplaner and concurrent forces (d) Any type of forces

3. If a body is in equilibrium. We may conclude that

(a) No force is acting on the body

(b) The resultant of all the forces acting on it is zero.

(c) The moments of the forces about any point is zero.

(d) Both (b) and (c)

4. If the sum of all the forces acting on a body is zero, then the body may be in equilibrium

provided the forces are

(a) Concurrent (b) Parallel

(c) Like parallel (d) Unlike parallel

5. A body is said to be in equilibrium, if it has no linear motion.

(a) True (b) False

6. Lamis Theorem can not be applied in case of concurrent forces

(a) Agree (b) Disagree

ANSWERS

1. (d) 2. (a) 3. (d) 4. (a) 5. (b) 6. (b)

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