statics

statics

[stat-iks]
statics, branch of mechanics concerned with the maintenance of equilibrium in bodies by the interaction of forces upon them (see force). It incorporates the study of the center of gravity (see center of mass) and the moment of inertia. In a state of equilibrium all the forces acting on a body are exactly counterbalanced by equal and opposite forces, thus keeping the body at rest. The principles of statics are widely applied in the design and construction of buildings and machinery.
Statics is the branch of mechanics concerned with the analysis of loads (force, torque/moment) on physical systems in static equilibrium, that is, in a state where the relative positions of subsystems do not vary over time, or where components and structures are at rest. When in static equilibrium, the system is either at rest, or its center of mass moves at constant velocity.

By Newton's second law, this situation implies that the net force and net torque (also known as moment of force) on every body in the system is zero, meaning that for every force bearing upon a member, there must be an equal and opposite force. From this constraint, such quantities as stress or pressure can be derived. The net forces equalling zero is known as the first condition for equilibrium, and the net torque equalling zero is known as the second condition for equilibrium. See statically determinate.

Statics is thoroughly used in the analysis of structures, for instance in architectural and structural engineering. Strength of materials is a related field of mechanics that relies heavily on the application of static equilibrium.

Hydrostatics, also known as fluid statics, is the study of fluids at rest. This analyzes systems in static equilibrium which involve forces due to mechanical fluids. The characteristic of any fluid at rest is that the force exerted on any particle of the fluid is the same in every direction. If the force is unequal the fluid will move in the direction of the resulting force. This concept was first formulated in a slightly extended form by the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal in 1647 and would be later known as Pascal's Law. This law has many important applications in hydraulics. Archimedes, Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī, Al-Khazini and Galileo Galilei were also major figures in the development of hydrostatics.

In economics, "static" analysis has substantially the same meaning as in physics. Since the time of Paul Samuelson's Foundations of Economic Analysis (1947), the focus has been on "comparative statics", i.e., the comparison of one static equilibrium to another, with little or no discussion of the process of going between them – except to note the exogenous changes that caused the movement.

In exploration geophysics, "statics" is used as a short form for "static correction", referring to bulk time shifts of a reflection seismogram to correct for the variations in elevation and velocity of the seismic pulse through the weathered and unconsolidated upper layers.

Other fundamental engineering topics

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