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Statics For Dummies by James H. Allen, III, PE, PhD

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Chapter 16. Mr. Newton Has Entered the Building: The Basics of Equilibrium

You're sitting comfortably at your desk, intently reading about all the gooey goodness that is statics, discovering how to draw and calculate vectors, and developing free-body diagrams to describe the world around you, when you lean back to stretch your spine. In the process, you suddenly find yourself losing balance — both you and your chair fall to the ground. Before you know it, you're lying on the ground wondering, "What the heck just happened?" Your personal weight and the weight of the chair have not changed since you sat down. You, my friend, have fallen victim to the perils of equilibrium.

After you have the basics of vectors and F.B.D.s down, you're ready to start exploring the single most important concept in statics: equilibrium (or balance). In this chapter, I show you how equilibrium is defined and introduce you to some of the work of Sir Isaac Newton, who provides you with the necessary tools used to explain equilibrium.

For even more information on equilibrium, turn to Chapters 17 and 18. Chapter 17 covers scalar methods, and Chapter 18 covers vector methods.

Defining Equilibrium for Statics

The word equilibrium has several different meanings, but in statics lingo it's basically defined as "a state of rest." In particular, it means that an object or system isn't experiencing any motion ...

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