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Free Body Diagrams
A scalar is simply a number, a magnitude alone.
A force is usually shown as a vector, which includes both
magnitude and a direction.
Force (or free-body) diagrams show the relative magnitude
and direction of all forces acting upon an object. The object
must be isolated and “free” of its surroundings.
This is a free-body diagram of the Statue
of Liberty. She is represented by a simple
box. The forces acting on her are labeled
with a magnitude and the arrow shows
direction. Notice the surrounding objects
are stripped away and the forces acting on
the object are shown.
496210 lb
496210 lb
WW here represents the force of the weight
of the statue.
NN is the normal force, which represents
the force Liberty Island is pushing back
up on the statue.
The island has a great resistance to
compression. The ground is exerting a
force upward on the statue perpendicular,
or normal, to the surface.
496210 lb
496210 lbN =
W =
Think of the diagram on an XY
plane.
If “up” is assumed to be the positive
direction, then N is positive and W is
negative.
496210 lb496210 lb
496210 lb496210 lbN =N =
W =W =
(Positive y-direction)
+y
+x
(Positive x-direction)
The first line of this calculation reads,
“The sum of the ForcesThe sum of the Forces inin thethe positive y directionpositive y direction is
WW + NN” ( Σ is the Greek symbol for “sum” )
++↑↑ ΣΣFFyy = WW + NN
ΣFy = (-496210 lb-496210 lb) + (+496210 lb+496210 lb )
ΣFy = 0
496210 lb496210 lb
496210 lb496210 lbN =N =
W =W =
(Positive y-direction)
+y
+x
(Positive x-direction)
The sum of the forces in the y is zero.
The forces acting on the object cancel each other out.
•We know F = m * aa, where “a” is acceleration.
•If aa = 00, then F = m * 00 = 00.
•When Σ F = 0, the object is not accelerating.
•We we can then say that the forces acting on the
object cancel each other out and it is in a state of
static equilibrium.
Sitting Gorilla
Free Body Diagram of the Sitting
Gorilla (The box represents the
gorilla, W = weight of the gorilla,
N = Normal force)
W
N
Create a free body diagram (FBD) for each of the following
situations. Draw a FBD of the gorilla:
This is also an acceptable
diagram.
N
W
Sitting Gorilla
Create a free body diagram (FBD) for each of the following
situations. Draw a FBD of the gorilla:
Parrot on wooden
swing hung by ropes
Draw a FBD of the wooden swing:
Free Body Diagram of the wooden
swing (The box represents the wooden
swing, W = weight of the swing and the
parrot, T represents the ropes that are
in tension supporting the weight)
W
T2T1
Bungee jumping
from crane
Draw a FBD of bucket the bungee jumper leaped from:
Free Body Diagram of the bucket (T
represents the tensile force of the
cable the bucket is suspended from,
and W is the weight of the diver and
the bucket)
W
T
Traffic Light
supported by cables
Draw a FBD of the ring at point C:
A B
C
D
Free Body Diagram of the ring at
point C (T represents the force of the
cables that are in tension acting on
the ring)
TCA
TCD
TCB
Draw a FBD of the traffic light:
Free Body Diagram of the traffic light
(TCD represents the force of the
cables acting on the light and W is
the weight acting on the light)
W
TCD
Traffic Light
supported by cables
A B
C
D
Pin-Connected Pratt Through
Truss Bridge
Draw a FBD of the pin at point A:
A B
E
D
C
Free Body Diagram of pin A
(If you consider the third dimension, then
there is an additional force acting on point A
into the paper: The force of the beam that
connects the front of the bridge to the back of
the bridge.)
TAE
TAC
TAB
TAD

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Free body diagrams

  • 2. A scalar is simply a number, a magnitude alone. A force is usually shown as a vector, which includes both magnitude and a direction. Force (or free-body) diagrams show the relative magnitude and direction of all forces acting upon an object. The object must be isolated and “free” of its surroundings.
  • 3. This is a free-body diagram of the Statue of Liberty. She is represented by a simple box. The forces acting on her are labeled with a magnitude and the arrow shows direction. Notice the surrounding objects are stripped away and the forces acting on the object are shown. 496210 lb 496210 lb
  • 4. WW here represents the force of the weight of the statue. NN is the normal force, which represents the force Liberty Island is pushing back up on the statue. The island has a great resistance to compression. The ground is exerting a force upward on the statue perpendicular, or normal, to the surface. 496210 lb 496210 lbN = W =
  • 5. Think of the diagram on an XY plane. If “up” is assumed to be the positive direction, then N is positive and W is negative. 496210 lb496210 lb 496210 lb496210 lbN =N = W =W = (Positive y-direction) +y +x (Positive x-direction)
  • 6. The first line of this calculation reads, “The sum of the ForcesThe sum of the Forces inin thethe positive y directionpositive y direction is WW + NN” ( Σ is the Greek symbol for “sum” ) ++↑↑ ΣΣFFyy = WW + NN ΣFy = (-496210 lb-496210 lb) + (+496210 lb+496210 lb ) ΣFy = 0 496210 lb496210 lb 496210 lb496210 lbN =N = W =W = (Positive y-direction) +y +x (Positive x-direction) The sum of the forces in the y is zero. The forces acting on the object cancel each other out.
  • 7. •We know F = m * aa, where “a” is acceleration. •If aa = 00, then F = m * 00 = 00. •When Σ F = 0, the object is not accelerating. •We we can then say that the forces acting on the object cancel each other out and it is in a state of static equilibrium.
  • 8. Sitting Gorilla Free Body Diagram of the Sitting Gorilla (The box represents the gorilla, W = weight of the gorilla, N = Normal force) W N Create a free body diagram (FBD) for each of the following situations. Draw a FBD of the gorilla:
  • 9. This is also an acceptable diagram. N W Sitting Gorilla Create a free body diagram (FBD) for each of the following situations. Draw a FBD of the gorilla:
  • 10. Parrot on wooden swing hung by ropes Draw a FBD of the wooden swing: Free Body Diagram of the wooden swing (The box represents the wooden swing, W = weight of the swing and the parrot, T represents the ropes that are in tension supporting the weight) W T2T1
  • 11. Bungee jumping from crane Draw a FBD of bucket the bungee jumper leaped from: Free Body Diagram of the bucket (T represents the tensile force of the cable the bucket is suspended from, and W is the weight of the diver and the bucket) W T
  • 12. Traffic Light supported by cables Draw a FBD of the ring at point C: A B C D Free Body Diagram of the ring at point C (T represents the force of the cables that are in tension acting on the ring) TCA TCD TCB
  • 13. Draw a FBD of the traffic light: Free Body Diagram of the traffic light (TCD represents the force of the cables acting on the light and W is the weight acting on the light) W TCD Traffic Light supported by cables A B C D
  • 14. Pin-Connected Pratt Through Truss Bridge Draw a FBD of the pin at point A: A B E D C Free Body Diagram of pin A (If you consider the third dimension, then there is an additional force acting on point A into the paper: The force of the beam that connects the front of the bridge to the back of the bridge.) TAE TAC TAB TAD