Torque - Terminology

Terminology

See also: Couple (mechanics)

This article follows US physics terminology by using the word torque. In the UK and in US mechanical engineering, this is called moment of force shortened usually to moment.

In US mechanical engineering, the term torque means 'the resultant moment of a Couple', and (unlike in US physics), the terms torque and moment are not interchangeable. Torque is defined mathematically as the rate of change of angular momentum of an object. The definition of torque states that one or both of the angular velocity or the moment of inertia of an object are changing. And moment is the general term used for the tendency of one or more applied forces to rotate an object about an axis, but not necessarily to change the angular momentum of the object (the concept which in physics is called torque).

For example, a rotational force applied to a shaft causing acceleration, such as a drill bit accelerating from rest, the resulting moment is called a torque. By contrast, a lateral force on a beam produces a moment (called a bending moment), but since the angular momentum of the beam is not changing, this bending moment is not called a torque. Similarly with any force couple on an object that has no change to its angular momentum, such moment is also not called a torque.

This article follows the US physics terminology by calling all moments by the term torque, whether or not they cause the angular momentum of an object to change.

Read more about this topic:  Torque

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