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What is Torque?

We can define torque as the measure of how much a force acting on an object causes that object to rotate. It is the twisting force that tends to cause rotation. The point where the object rotates is called as the axis of rotation. In physics, torque is simply the tendency of a force to turn or twist.

To explain torque in details let us consider the figure given below.

Torque - Class 11

We can see that the net force on the body is zero. Hence the body is in translational equilibrium. But the rod tends to rotate, this turning effect produced by force is known as moment of force or torque. Now we will consider the example of a door and try to formulate the equation for torque.

If we apply force closer to the hinge, then larger force is required to rotate the door. Also, it depends on the direction in which the force is being applied. If it is perpendicular to the line joining the hinge and the point of application of force then smaller force is required.

Torque Formula

From the above observation, we conclude that torque produced depends on the magnitude of the force and the perpendicular distance between the point about which torque is calculated and the point of application of force. So mathematically torque is represented as:

τ = F.r. sinθ

Torque - Class 11

Unit of torque is Newton–meter (N-m). The above equation can be represented as the vector product of force and position vector.

τ = r x F

So as it is a vector product hence torque also must be a vector. Using vector product notations we can find the direction of torque. We will consider an example to see how to calculate torque.

Examples Of Torque

Let us consider the situation given below:

Torque - Class 11

In the above diagram:

= 5N

r = 4m

sinθ = 30°

Putting these values we have,

τ = 5 x 4 x sin 30°

τ = 10 N-m

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FAQs on Torque - Class 11

1. What is torque?
Ans. Torque is a measure of the turning force applied to an object. It is the product of the force applied and the perpendicular distance from the axis of rotation to the line of action of the force.
2. How is torque calculated?
Ans. Torque can be calculated by multiplying the force applied to an object by the distance from the axis of rotation to the point where the force is applied. Mathematically, torque (τ) = force (F) × distance (r) × sin(θ), where θ is the angle between the force and the lever arm.
3. What are the units of torque?
Ans. The SI unit of torque is newton-meter (N·m) or joule (J). However, torque can also be expressed in other units such as pound-foot (lb·ft) or dyne-centimeter (dyn·cm).
4. How does torque affect rotational motion?
Ans. Torque is responsible for causing rotational motion. When a torque is applied to an object, it causes the object to rotate around an axis. The magnitude of the torque determines the angular acceleration of the object, while the direction of the torque determines the direction of rotation.
5. What are some real-life examples of torque?
Ans. Torque is encountered in various everyday situations. Some examples include opening a door by applying force at the doorknob, tightening a bolt using a wrench, or pedaling a bicycle to make the wheels turn. In each case, torque is required to initiate and maintain rotational motion.
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