Difference between resultant and equilibrant and what do you understand by “A body is in Equilibrium”

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If a number of forces are acting simultaneously on a particle, it is possible to find out a single force which could replace them i.e. which would produce the same effect as produced by all the given forces. This single force is called resultant force.

This resultant force, causes the body to move. Now, if another force, which is equal in magnitude of the resultant but opposite in direction is applied to the body, the body comes to rest. The force, which brings the set of forces in equilibrium is called an equilibrant. This equilibrant force is equal to the resultant force in magnitude, but opposite in nature.

A body is said to be in equilibrium, which the resultant of the system of forces acting on it is zero. If a body is in equilibrium, it will continue its state of rest or uniform motion.

Types of Equilibrium:

There are three types of equilibrium:

Stable Equilibrium: A body is said to be in stable equilibrium, if it returns back to its original position, after it is slightly disturbed from its position of rest. In this case the restoring force acts in the opposite direction to the displacing force.

Unstable Equilibrium: A body is said to be in unstable equilibrium, if it does not returns back to its original position of rest, after it is slightly disturbed. In this case restoring force acts in the direction of displacing force.

Neutral Equilibrium: A body is said to be in neutral equilibrium, if it occupies a new position and remains at rest in this new position, after it is slightly disturbed from its original position. In this case no additional force sets up due to the displacement.

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Arbaj Demrot is the founder of VideRime Online Learning, a leading engineering website. He did his BE Civil and M.Tech Structure from RGPV University, Bhopal and has been working as an Assistant Professor in a reputed college.

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