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Moramay Ramirez
Professor Bañuelos
PHY 300/ L
05 February 2018

Lab Report 3: Center of Mass

I. The Abstract

In this lab, we learned to determine where the center of mass is on an irregularly shaped object.

We determined the center of mass of an object by drawing lines from one corner to another on

the cardboard, where the lines intersected was our center of mass. Next we made a hole in the

center of a small piece of irregular cardboard. We then passed a string through the hole and taped

the end to the other side of the cardboard. Next we suspended the object by the string. The results

where that when the center of the mass was located on the object, it balanced because no net

torque exists. The goal of this lab was to locate the center of mass of oddly shaped objects, and

to prove that objects can be balanced at this point.

II. The Introduction

All objects have a center of mass that helps them stay balanced. This lab covered experiments to

do, to study this theory. The center of mass is the point where all of the matter of the object is

concentrated. When an object is supported at its center of mass, there is no net torque acting on

the body and it will remain in static equilibrium. Static equilibrium is where an object has no

changes to the linear momentum or the angular momentum.To quantify equilibrium for a single

object, there are two conditions: the net external force on the object is zero and the net external

torque, regardless of choice of origin, is also zero. What we are doing is important because the

center of mass determines whether or not something will fall over. This is useful because it
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makes it easy to solve mechanics problems where we have to describe the motion of oddly-

shaped objects and complicated systems.

III. Data

(Pictures were emailed)

IV. The Questions

1. Cut the letter C out of cardboard and locate the center of mass. Is it within the frame of

the letter? Can it be balanced at the center of mass as in 3?

No, it is not in the frame of the letter. The center of mass is 3” outside of the line and it cannot be

balanced at the center.

2. Fashion a cardboard silhouette in the shape of the continental USA (exclude Alaska and

Hawaii) and estimate the position of its center of mass.

I estimated that the center of mass is on the border of Nebraska and Kansas.

3. The center of mass for a human is in the abdomen just below the navel. We can maintain

a stable standing posture as long as the center of mass is directly above our feet. Explain

in terms of the the location of the center of mass, the physical reason why you begin to

fall forward when you lean forward far enough.

You will be standing as long as the center of your gravity is in between your heels and your toes.

When you lean forward the center of gravity is not further out than you toes and that will cause

you to tip.

V. Conclusion

Overall, the experiments succeeded in showing where the center of mass is on oddly shaped

objects. We determined the center of mass of an object by drawing lines from one corner to

another on the cardboard, where the lines intersected was our center of mass. Next we made a
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hole in the center of a small piece of irregular cardboard. We then passed a string through the

hole and taped the end to the other side of the cardboard. Next we suspended the object by the

string. Differences in calculations came about in class when my lab group could could not come

to an agreement on the location of mass.on This was do to experimental errors, which can be

divided into systematic errors and random errors. When making the lines of intersection, they

can be off and not centered leading to the systematic errors. The other errors mentioned above

are the random errors, such as pinning the string a little off to center of mass. Even with the

errors we were still able to calculate roughly where the center of mass was, satisfying the goal of

this lab. Which was to locate the center of mass of oddly shaped objects, and to prove that

objects can be balanced at this point.