What Is Static Equilibrium?

All objects in static equilibrium must have a force that counteracts gravity.
••• Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

An object in static equilibrium is unable to move because all the forces acting on it compensate for one another. Static equilibrium is an important concept in the design of countless rigid structures, from the floor system of a house to an enormous suspension bridge, because these structures must maintain static equilibrium under all expected loading conditions.

A Balance of Forces

The basic condition for static equilibrium is that an object is not experiencing any type of motion, translational or rotational. An object in translational equilibrium is not traveling from one place to another, and an object in rotational equilibrium is not rotating around an axis. Translational equilibrium requires that the vector sum of all external forces is zero; in other words, the magnitudes and directions of external forces cancel each other out. Similarly, rotational equilibrium requires that all of the external torques cancel each other out. A torque is an influence that acts on the rotational motion of an object.

Static equilibrium is a valuable analysis tool: for example, if two forces are acting on an object that is in static equilibrium, that means they add up to zero. If you know the direction and magnitude of one of the forces, you can write an equation to determine the magnitude and direction of the unknown force.

Related Articles

How to Calculate Frictional Torque
Simple Explanation of How Gyroscopes Work
How to Find the Inertia of an Object
How Does Pressure Relate to Fluid Flow?
How to Calculate a Change in Momentum
How to Calculate the Weight of a Hanging Load on an...
How to Calculate Centrifugal Force
How to Calculate Torque on a Shaft
Mechanical Energy Facts for Kids
How to Find Kinetic Energy With the Compression of...
How to Calculate Potential Energy
How to Calculate Forces Acting on Beams
How to Calculate Brake Torque
Difference Between Velocity Time Graph & Position Time...
What Is the Difference Between Newton's First Law of...
How to Calculate Resultant Forces
Newton's Laws of Motion
How to Calculate Contact Force

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!