Center of gravity
Barger, Vernon D. Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin.
Last reviewed:August 2020
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A fixed point in a body of matter through which the resultant force of gravitational attraction acts. The center of gravity is an imaginary point in any given body that is convenient when performing calculations and conducting mechanical studies regarding the body. The center of gravity may not be near an object's geometric center if the object's constituent matter is not evenly distributed; for example, a uniformly weighted ruler's center of gravity will align with its center point, while a sledgehammer's center of gravity will be nearer to the tool's heavy end (see Illustration). The concept of the center of gravity can be used in structural engineering to assist with the design of bridges and buildings, for instance, and in calculations involving celestial bodies interacting via the force of gravity. See also: Bridge; Gravity; Structural engineering
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