# Moments

Jonny Nelson introduces an animated explanation of moments, levers and gears

A force or system of forces may cause an object to turn. A is the turning effect of a force. Moments act about a point in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. The point chosen could be any point on the object, but the - also known as the fulcrum - is usually chosen.

The anticlockwise moment acts downward on the left, and the clockwise moment acts downwards on the right

The magnitude of a moment can be calculated using the equation:

moment of a force = force Ć distance

This is when:

• moment (M) is measured in newton-metres (Nm)
• force (F) is measured in newtons (N)
• distance (d) is measured in metres (m)
It is important to remember that the distance (d) is the perpendicular distance from the pivot to the line of action of the force (see diagram).
The perpendicular distance is the shortest distance between the pivot and the line of action of the force

### Example

A force of 15 N is applied to a door handle, 12 cm from the pivot. Calculate the moment of the force.

First convert centimetres into metres:

12 cm = 12 Ć· 100 = 0.12 m

Then calculate using the values given in the question:

Question

A force of 40 N is applied to a spanner to turn a nut. The perpendicular distance is 30 cm. Calculate the moment of the force.