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# WU,CENG, Pre-Engineering Engineering Mechanics- I

(CENG1041)
Year 2015/16
CHAPTER SIX
6. CENTROIDS
Introduction
Actually, concentrated forces do not exist in the exact sense, since every external force applied
mechanically to a body is distributed over a finite contact area however small. When forces are
applied over a region whose dimensions are not negligible compared with other pertinent
dimensions, then we must account for the actual manner in which the force is distributed by
summing up the effects of the distributed force over the entire region. We carry out this process
by using the procedures of mathematical integration. For this purpose we need to know the
intensity of the force at any location. There are three categories into which such problems fall;
i/ Line Distribution :- when a force is distributed along a line. The loading is expressed as force
per unit length of line (N/m)
ii/ Area Distribution :- when a force is distributed over an area. The loading is expressed as
force per unit area.(N/m2).
iii/ Volume Distribution :- when a force is distributed over the volume of a body (body force).
(N/m3)
The body force due to the earths gravitational attraction (weight) is by far the most commonly
encountered distributed force. The following sections of the chapter deal with the determination
of the point in a body through which the resultant gravitational forces acts and the associated
geometrical properties of lines, areas and volumes.
6.1. Centroids of lines, Areas, and Volumes of Figures and Bodies
Center of Mass or Center of Gravity

Applying the principle of moments, the moment of the resultant gravitational force W about any
axis equals the sum of the moments about the same axis of the gravitational forces dw acting on
all particles treated as infinitesimal elements of the body.
W =dw
Applying moment principle about the y-axis, the moment about the y-axis of the elemental
weight, dw is x .dw.

Compiled by Homa D
Lecture Notes

## WU,CENG, Pre-Engineering Engineering Mechanics- I

(CENG1041)
Year 2015/16
The sum of these moments for all elements of the body is xdw

The point (x, y, z) is known as the center of mass, and coincides with the center of gravity as
long as the gravity field is treated as uniform and parallel.
-The center of mass has a special significance in calculating the dynamic response of a body to
unbalanced forces.
In most problems the calculation of the position of the center of mass may be simplified by an
intelligent choice of reference axes. In general the axes should be placed so as to simplify the
equations of the boundaries as much as possible. Thus polar coordinates will be useful for bodies
having circular boundaries.
Another important clue may be taken from considerations of symmetry. Whenever there exists a
line or plane of symmetry in a homogenous body, a coordinate axis or plane should be chosen to
coincide with this line or plane.
The center of mass will always lie on such a line or plane, since the moments due to
symmetrically located elements will always cancel, and the body can be considered composed of
pairs of these elements.
-The location of the center of mass is always facilitated by the observation of symmetry when it
exists.
6.2 Centroids of Lines, Areas and Volumes
When speaking of an actual physical body, we use the term center of mass. If the density is
uniform
throughout the body, the positions of the centroid and the center of mass are identical, whereas if
the density varies, these two points will, in general, not coincide.
The term centroid is used when the calculation concerns a geometrical shape only.
The calculation of centroids fall within three distinct categories, depending on whether the shape
of the body involved can be modeled as a line, an area, or a volume.

Compiled by Homa D
Lecture Notes

## WU,CENG, Pre-Engineering Engineering Mechanics- I

(CENG1041)
Year 2015/16
1/ Centroids of Lines

It should be noted that, in general, the centroid C will not lie on the line. If the rod lies in a single
plane, such as the x-y plane, only two coordinates will require calculation.

Compiled by Homa D
Lecture Notes

## WU,CENG, Pre-Engineering Engineering Mechanics- I

(CENG1041)
Year 2015/16

2/ Centroids of Areas

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Lecture Notes

## WU,CENG, Pre-Engineering Engineering Mechanics- I

(CENG1041)
Year 2015/16

The centroid C for the curved surface will in general not lie on the surface. If the area is a flat
surface, say, the x-y plane, only the coordinates of C in that plane will be unknown.
3/ Centroids of Volumes
-For a general body of volume V and constant density, the coordinates of the center of mass also
become the coordinates of the centroid C of the body.

## Choice of Element for Integration

-With mass centers and centroids the concept of the moment principle is simple enough; the
difficulties reside primarily with the choice of the differential element and with setting up the
integrals. In particular there are five guidelines to be specially observed.

Compiled by Homa D
Lecture Notes

## WU,CENG, Pre-Engineering Engineering Mechanics- I

(CENG1041)
Year 2015/16
i/ Order of element ;- whenever possible, a first order differential element should be selected in
preference to a higher order element so that only one integration will be required to cover the
entire figure

ii/ Continuity ;- whenever possible, we choose an element which can be integrated in one
continuous operation to cover the figure

The horizontal strip in fig (a), would be preferable to the vertical strip in fig (b), which, if used,
would require two separate integrals because of the discontinuity in the expression for the height
of the strip at x = x1.
Higher-order terms may always be dropped compared with the lower-order terms.

Compiled by Homa D
Lecture Notes

## WU,CENG, Pre-Engineering Engineering Mechanics- I

(CENG1041)
Year 2015/16

-The boundaries of the area in (a) are most easily described in rectangular coordinates, whereas
the boundaries of the circular sector in (b) are best suited to polar coordinates.
V/ Centroidal Coordinate of Element:- When a 1st or 2nd order differential element is
adopted, it is essential to use the coordinate of the centroid of the element for the moment arm in
setting up the moment of the differential element

-It is essential to recognize that the subscript C serves as a reminder that the moment arms
appearing in the numerators of the integral expressions for moments are always the coordinates
of the centroids of the particular elements chosen
6.3. Composite bodies and Figures

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Lecture Notes

## WU,CENG, Pre-Engineering Engineering Mechanics- I

(CENG1041)
Year 2015/16
-Consider a body whose parts have masses m1, m2, m3 with the respective mass center
coordinates x1, x2, x3 in the x-direction;

Analogous relations hold for composite lines, areas and volumes, where the ms are replaced by
Ls, As and Vs respectively.
It should be pointed out that if a hole or cavity is considered in one of the component parts of a
composite body or figure, the corresponding mass represented by the cavity or hole is treated as
a negative quantity

Compiled by Homa D
Lecture Notes