(mechanics) A polygonal figure the sides of which are vectors representing several forces acting simultaneously upon one point, so that the vector necessary to make the figure closed is the resultant of those forces.
Polygon-of-forces Sentence Examples
This polygon of forces may, by a slight extension of the above definition, be called the reciprocal figure of the external forces, if the sides are arranged in the same order as that of the joints on which they act, so that if the joints and forces be numbered I, 2, 3, 4, &c., passing round the outside of the frame in one direction, and returning at last to joint 1, then in the polygon the side representing the force 2 will be next the side representing the force I, and will be followed by the side representing the force 3, and so forth.
If there are no redundant members in the frame there will be only two members abutting at the point of support, for these two members will be sufficient to balance the reaction, whatever its direction may be; we can therefore draw two triangles, each having as one side the reaction YX, and having the two other sides parallel to these two members; each of these triangles will represent a polygon of forces in equilibrium at the point of support.
67 d as the complete reciprocal figure of the frame and forces upon it, and we see that each line in the reciprocal figure measures the stress on the corresponding member in the frame, and that the polygon of forces acting at any point, as Ijky, in the frame is represented by a polygon of the same name in the reciprocal figure.
This is the proposition known as the polygon of forces.