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When we consider how far a system in stable equilibrium can be displaced before it becomes unstable, we find that some systems in stable equilibrium are more stable than others. The pencil in [link] and the person in [link] (a) are in stable equilibrium, but become unstable for relatively small displacements to the side. The critical point is reached when the cg is no longer above the base of support. Additionally, since the cg of a person’s body is above the pivots in the hips, displacements must be quickly controlled. This control is a central nervous system function that is developed when we learn to hold our bodies erect as infants. For increased stability while standing, the feet should be spread apart, giving a larger base of support. Stability is also increased by lowering one’s center of gravity by bending the knees, as when a football player prepares to receive a ball or braces themselves for a tackle. A cane, a crutch, or a walker increases the stability of the user, even more as the base of support widens. Usually, the cg of a female is lower (closer to the ground) than a male. Young children have their center of gravity between their shoulders, which increases the challenge of learning to walk.

Part a of the figure shows a man standing on the ground. The feet are a shoulder-width apart from each other. The weight W of the man is acting at the center of gravity of the body of the man. Two normal reactions N each are shown acting on the feet of the man. The distance between the feet of the man is marked as the base of support. A free body diagram is also shown on the left side of the figure.  Part b of the figure shows a man standing upright with his knees bent. The feet are a distance apart from each other. The weight W of the man is acting at the center of gravity of the body of the man. Two normal reactions N each are shown acting on the feet of the man. The distance between the feet of the man is marked as the base of support.
(a) The center of gravity of an adult is above the hip joints (one of the main pivots in the body) and lies between two narrowly-separated feet. Like a pencil standing on its eraser, this person is in stable equilibrium in relation to sideways displacements, but relatively small displacements take his cg outside the base of support and make him unstable. Humans are less stable relative to forward and backward displacements because the feet are not very long. Muscles are used extensively to balance the body in the front-to-back direction. (b) While bending in the manner shown, stability is increased by lowering the center of gravity. Stability is also increased if the base is expanded by placing the feet farther apart.

Animals such as chickens have easier systems to control. [link] shows that the cg of a chicken lies below its hip joints and between its widely separated and broad feet. Even relatively large displacements of the chicken’s cg are stable and result in restoring forces and torques that return the cg to its equilibrium position with little effort on the chicken’s part. Not all birds are like chickens, of course. Some birds, such as the flamingo, have balance systems that are almost as sophisticated as that of humans.

[link] shows that the cg of a chicken is below the hip joints and lies above a broad base of support formed by widely-separated and large feet. Hence, the chicken is in very stable equilibrium, since a relatively large displacement is needed to render it unstable. The body of the chicken is supported from above by the hips and acts as a pendulum between the hips. Therefore, the chicken is stable for front-to-back displacements as well as for side-to-side displacements.

A chicken is shown standing on the ground. The weight of the chicken is acting at the center of gravity of the chicken’s body. The distance between the feet of the chicken is labeled as base of support. The normal forces N each are acting at the feet of the chicken. A free body diagram is shown at the right side of the figure.
The center of gravity of a chicken is below the hip joints. The chicken is in stable equilibrium. The body of the chicken is supported from above by the hips and acts as a pendulum between them.

Questions & Answers

explain how a body becomes electrically charged based on the presence of charged particles
Kym Reply
induction
babar
induction
DEMGUE
definitely by induction
Raymond
induction
Raymond
induction
Shah
induction
Korodhso
please why does a needle sinks in water
DEMGUE
induction
Korodhso
induction
Auwal
what are the calculations of Newton's third law of motiow
Murtala Reply
what is dark matter
apex Reply
(in some cosmological theories) non-luminous material which is postulated to exist in space and which could take either of two forms: weakly interacting particles ( cold dark matter ) or high-energy randomly moving particles created soon after the Big Bang ( hot dark matter ).
Usman
if the mass of a trolley is 0.1kg. calculate the weight of plasticine that is needed to compensate friction. (take g=10m/s and u=0.2)
Declan Reply
what is a galaxy
Maduka Reply
what isflow rate of volume
Abcd Reply
flow rate is the volume of fluid which passes per unit time;
Rev
flow rate or discharge represnts the flow passing in unit volume per unit time
bhat
When two charges q1 and q2 are 6 and 5 coulomb what is ratio of force
Mian Reply
When reducing the mass of a racing bike, the greatest benefit is realized from reducing the mass of the tires and wheel rims. Why does this allow a racer to achieve greater accelerations than would an identical reduction in the mass of the bicycle’s frame?
bimo Reply
is that the answer
nehemiah
why is it proportional
nehemiah Reply
i don't know
Adah
y
nehemiah
what are the relationship between distance and displacement
Usman Reply
They are interchangeable.
Shii
Distance is scalar, displacement is vector because it must involve a direction as well as a magnitude. distance is the measurement of where you are and where you were displacement is a measurement of the change in position
Shii
Thanks a lot
Usman
I'm beginner in physics so I can't reason why v=u+at change to v2=u2+2as and vice versa
Usman
what is kinematics
praveen
kinematics is study of motion without considering the causes of the motion
Theo
The study of motion without considering the cause 0f it
Usman
why electrons close to the nucleus have less energy and why do electrons far from the nucleus have more energy
Theo
thank you frds
praveen
plz what is the third law of thermodynamics
Chidera Reply
third law of thermodynamics states that at 0k the particles will collalse its also known as death of universe it was framed at that time when it waa nt posible to reach 0k but it was proved wrong
bhat
I have not try that experiment but I think it will magnet....
Rev Reply
Hey Rev. it will
Jeff
I do think so, it will
Chidera
yes it will
lasisi
If a magnet is in a pool of water, would it be able to have a magnetic field?.
Stella Reply
yes Stella it would
Jeff
formula for electric current
Chizzy Reply
what is that about pleace
Fokoua
what are you given?
Kudzy
what is current
Fokoua
I=q/t
saifullahi
Current is the flow of electric charge per unit time.
saifullahi
What are semi conductors
saifullahi
materials that allows charge to flow at varying conditions, temperature for instance.
Mokua
these are materials which have electrical conductivity greater than the insulators but less than metal, in these materials energy band Gap is very narrow as compared to insulators
Sunil
materials that allows charge to flow at varying conditions, temperature for instance.
Obasi
wao so awesome
Fokoua
At what point in the oscillation of beam will a body leave it?
Atambiri
what is gravitational force
Adah
what is meant by the term law
Fahd Reply
Practice Key Terms 3

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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