Torque

This force leads to what is called a

Torque is thus measured in units of Newton - meters.

Like force, there is a direction associated with torque,
which is related to the net clockwise or counter-clockwise
rotation about the pivot point *O* that the torque causes.

Note that the torque depends on the distance from the point of rotation, and that for a constant force a greater torque results with increasing distance. One can see this by pushing on a door to open it - the further away from the hinges (point of rotation) one pushes, the greater the torque is exerted on the door, and therefore the easier it is to open. In particular, if one pushes on the door directly on the hinges, so that the distance from the point of rotation is zero, no torque results.

In Figure 5.2 the angle between the direction of the
applied force and the direct line from the axis *O* to the
point where the force is applied is 90^{o}. If this angle
was different from 90^{o} the definition of the torque
about *O* would be modified. In particular, if this angle was
zero, so that the force is directed towards the point of
rotation, the torque turns out to be zero. Again, one can
see this by trying to open a door by pushing on the door
towards the hinges; no matter how hard one pushes, the door
will not move.

1999-09-29