Definition of Mechanics

MECHANICS

The science of mechanics deals with the effects of forces in causing or preventing motion. Statics is the branch of mechanics that deals with bodies in equilibrium, i.e., the forces acting on them cause them to remain at rest or to move with uniform velocity. Dynamics is the branch of mechanics that deals with bodies not in equilibrium, i.e., the forces acting on them cause them to move with non-uniform velocity. Kinetics is the branch of dynamics that deals with both the forces acting on bodies and the motions that they cause. Kinematics is the branch of dynamics that deals only with the motions of bodies without reference to the forces that cause them. 

Definitions of certain terms and quantities as used in mechanics follow:

Force may be defined simply as a push or a pull; the push or pull may result from the force of contact between bodies or from a force, such as magnetism or gravitation, in which no direct contact takes place. 

Matter is any substance that occupies space; gases, liquids, solids, electrons, atoms, molecules, etc., all fit this definition. 

Inertia is the property of matter that causes it to resist any change in its motion or state of rest. 

Mass is a measure of the inertia of a body. 

Work, in mechanics, is the product of force times distance and is expressed by a combination of units of force and distance, as foot-pounds, inch-pounds, meter-kilograms, etc.


Power, in mechanics, is the product of force times distance divided by time; it measures the performance of a given amount of work in a given time. It is the rate of doing work and as such is expressed in foot-pounds per minute, foot-pounds per second, kilogram-meters per second, etc. 

Horsepower is the unit of power that has been adopted for engineering work. One horsepower is equal to 33,000 foot-pounds per minute or 550 foot-pounds per second. The kilowatt, used in electrical work, equals 1.34 horsepower; or 1 horsepower equals 0.746 kilowatt. 

Torque or moment of a force is a measure of the tendency of the force to rotate the body upon which it acts about an axis. The magnitude of the moment due to a force acting in a plane perpendicular to some axis is obtained by multiplying the force by the perpendicular distance from the axis to the line of action of the force. (If the axis of rotation is not perpendicular to the plane of the force, then the components of the force in a plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation are used to find the resultant moment of the force by finding the moment of each component and adding these component moments algebraically.) Moment or torque is commonly expressed in pound-feet, pound-inches, kilogram-meters, etc. 

Velocity is the time-rate of change of distance and is expressed as distance divided by time, that is, feet per second, miles per hour, centimeters per second, meters per second, etc. 

Acceleration is defined as the time-rate of change of velocity and is expressed as velocity divided by time or as distance divided by time squared, that is, in feet per second, per second or feet per second squared; inches per second, per second or inches per second squared; centimeters per second, per second or centimeters per second squared; etc.


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