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Science, Maths & Technology
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  • 10 mins
  • Level 1: Introductory

Centre of gravity

Updated Wednesday 9th May 2007

Why is centre of gravity important? And why might ignoring it cause problems?

The centre of gravity is the point in the structure where all of the weight can be thought to act. If movement of the structure occurs, it will pivot around fixed points at the base and the position of the centre of gravity is crucial.

When the centre of gravity is moved outside the vertical supports, then the structure will fall because there is a leverage effect acting on the structure. The following interactive feature applies this to the famous Tay Bridge disaster.

You need the Flash Player (version 4 or higher) to view this - download Flash. http://podcast.open.ac.uk/open2media/forensic_engineering/riddle/gravity.swf

This feature requires Flash. If you don't have the latest version of that software on your computer, click here to get Flash

 

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