Center of mass - Barycentric coordinates


In physics, the center of mass of a distribution of mass in space is the unique point where the weighted relative position of the distributed mass sums to zero, or the point where if a force is applied it moves in the direction of the force without rotating. The distribution of mass is balanced around the center of mass and the average of the weighted position coordinates of the distributed mass defines its coordinates. Calculations in mechanics are often simplified when formulated with respect to the center of mass. It is a hypothetical point where entire mass of an object may be assumed to be concentrated to visualise its motion. In other words, the center of mass is the particle equivalent of a given object for application of Newton’s laws of motion.

In the case of a system of particles Pi, i = 1, …, n , each with mass mi that are located in space with coordinates ri, i = 1, …, n , the coordinates R of the center of mass satisfy the condition:

The coordinates R of the center of mass of a two-particle system, P1 and P2, with masses m1 and m2 is given by the shown formula

Related formulas


Rcoordinates of the center of mass (m)
m1mass of particle 1 (kg)
m2mass of particle 2 (kg)
r1coordinates of particle 1 (m)
r2coordinates of particle 2 (m)