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Centre of gravity and stability

Stability is a measure of a body's ability to return to its original position after it has been tilted slightly.

The stability of vans and lorries is tested so they do not tip over when going round corners.

When a body is tilted, its centre of gravity creates a moment.

If the centre of gravity is high, this moment can cause the body to tilt more and fall over.

If the centre of gravity is low, the moment returns the body back to its original position.

The stability of an object can be improved by lowering the centre of gravity. This can be done by:

  • adding weight to the base of the object.
  • increasing the area of the base of the object.
Left: The stool is upright and experiences no moment. Centre: The stool is tilted slightly but does not fall. Right: The stool is tilted and falls over.
Left: The stool is upright and experiences no moment. Centre: The stool is tilted slightly but does not fall. Right: The stool is tilted and falls over.