Applied Mechanics. Made Simple by George E. Drabble

By George E. Drabble

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If mass, length and time are chosen as arbitrary fundamental quantities, all other quantities in dynamics can be expressed in terms of these three. Mass, length and time are called the dimensions in which all other quantities are expressed. Thus, velocity can be expressed in terms of the dimensions of length and time. No matter what units are chosen, the equation velocity = —r-^— time will always be true, because the units of velocity are defined by this relationship. If we adopt the foot as a unit of length and the second as the unit of time we shall always express velocity as feet/second, or feet per second.

The simple answer is, either of the two support points. That way, the moment of one of the unknown forces becomes zero; it is thus conveniently set aside, leaving us to calculate the other. But it must be stressed that this answer is one of expediency. In theory, we could take moments of all forces about any point. If we did, we should have an equation which would contain both of our unknown forces Fx and F2, and anyone familiar with elementary algebra knows that you cannot determine two unknown quantities with only one equation.

For calculations in dynamics, you must first distinguish clearly between the mass and weight of a body; secondly, you must express the mass and the weight in units which are consistent with the Equation of Motion. All this has been complicated in the past by the unfortunate use of the same name for both the unit of mass and the unit of weight. I have already stated that one standard mass is 'one pound', which is commonly known as a unit of weight. What is more, people will continue to confuse the two terms.

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