States of equilibrium
There are three states of equilibrium:
- Stable equilibrium
- Unstable equilibrium
- Neutral equilibrium
When the center of gravity of a body lies below point of suspension or support, the body is said to be in stable equilibrium. For example a book lying on a table is in stable equilibrium.
A book lying on a horizontal surface is an example of stable equilibrium. If the book is lifted from one edge and then allowed to fall, it will come back to its original position.
Other examples of stable equilibrium are bodies lying on the floor such as chair, table etc.
Reason of stability
When the book is lifted its center of gravity is raised. The line of action of weight passes through the base of the book. A torque due to weight of the book brings it back to the original position.
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When the center of gravity of a body lies above the point of suspension or support, the body is said to be in unstable equilibrium.
Pencil standing on its point or a stick in vertically standing position.
If thin rod standing vertically is slightly disturbed from its position it will not come back to its original position. This type of equilibrium is called unstable equilibrium, other example of unstable equilibrium are vertically standing cylinder and funnel etc.
Reason of instability
When the rod is slightly disturbed its center of gravity is lowered . The line of action of its weight lies outside the base of rod. The torque due to weight of the rod toppled it down.
When the center of gravity of a body lies at the point of suspension or support, the body is said to be in neutral equilibrium. Example: rolling ball.
If a ball is pushed slightly to roll, it will neither come back to its original nor it will roll forward rather it will remain at rest. This type of equilibrium is called neutral equilibrium.
Reason of neutral equilibrium
If the ball is rolled, its center of gravity is neither raised nor lowered. This means that its center of gravity is at the same height as before.