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Experiment: Finding centres of gravity by balancing

These experiments provide an alternative approach to locating the centre of gravity.
It's all part of generating engineers' eyes.
Here’s another way to find the center of gravity of our cardboard shapes. This time, we’ll find the point of balance horizontally. It’s probably easier to use a circular rod to do this with like this. The balancing line is less well defined, but the cardboard is more stable. See what you think. We’ll find a line of balance this way and mark it on the cardboard. And we will do it at roughly 90 degrees like this, as well.
Drawing the marks, we get lines that meet in a point. It’s another estimate of the CG or center of gravity. And we’ll measure the shapes. We will need the data later on. We’ll compare our estimates in the next video.

These experiments provide an alternative approach to locating the centre of gravity. It’s all part of generating engineers’ eyes.

You can download instructions to the experiment in the Downloads section below.

Talking points

  • Did you see how this method and the previous method both depend on taking moments?
  • What did you think of the agreement between the two methods?

Share your experiment

If you attempt the experiment, take a photo and upload it to our Through Engineers’ Eyes Padlet wall. You can include a link to your photo in the comments for this step (click on your post on the Padlet wall and then copy the web address).

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Through Engineers' Eyes: Engineering Mechanics by Experiment, Analysis and Design

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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