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A More Advanced Look at Torque

Above we looked at the simplest form of torque. That example had all the weights on a level balance. The general way to calculate torques on a balance is as follows:

Draw an arrow representing the force acting on the object. This arrow should start at the point on which the force acts and it should point in the direction in which the force acts. Now extend this arrow to make a long line. Now find the shortest distance between this line and the center. The shortest distance will be along a line that is perpendicular to the first line. This distance is what you multiply the force by in order to calculate the torque.


12. Big Edward is sitting on the seesaw 5 feet from the center (also called the fulcrum). Big Edward weights 200 pounds. Little Eddy is sitting on the other side of the seesaw, also 5 feet from the center. Unfortunately, Little Eddy only weighs 100 pounds, so his feet are far from the ground. How far from the fulcrum would Little Eddy have to sit in order to make his feet touch the ground?

13. A board with five equally-spaced holes is hung by a string strung through the middle hole. The other holes have strings tied to them with weights hanging on each string. The amount of each weight is shown. What’s going to happen to the board: will it tilt to the left, tilt to the right, or stay level?

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