The distribution of mass is balanced around the center of mass and the average of the weighted position coordinates of the distributed mass defines its coordinates. Calculations in mechanics are simplified when formulated with respect to the center of mass. It is a point where entire mass of an object may be assumed to be concentrated to visualise its motion. In other words, the center of mass is the equivalent of a given object for application of Newtons laws of motion. In the case of a rigid body, the center of mass is fixed in relation to the body. The center of mass may be located outside the body, as is sometimes the case for hollow or open-shaped objects. In the case of a distribution of separate bodies, such as the planets of the Solar System, in orbital mechanics, the equations of motion of planets are formulated as point masses located at the centers of mass. The center of mass frame is a frame in which the center of mass of a system is at rest with respect to the origin of the coordinate system. The concept of center of mass in the form of the center of gravity was first introduced by the ancient Greek physicist, mathematician, and engineer Archimedes of Syracuse. He worked with simplified assumptions about gravity that amount to a uniform field, in work on floating bodies he demonstrated that the orientation of a floating object is the one that makes its center of mass as low as possible. He developed mathematical techniques for finding the centers of mass of objects of uniform density of various well-defined shapes, Newtons second law is reformulated with respect to the center of mass in Eulers first law. The center of mass is the point at the center of a distribution of mass in space that has the property that the weighted position vectors relative to this point sum to zero. In analogy to statistics, the center of mass is the location of a distribution of mass in space. Solving this equation for R yields the formula R =1 M ∑ i =1 n m i r i, solve this equation for the coordinates R to obtain R =1 M ∭ Q ρ r d V, where M is the total mass in the volume. If a continuous mass distribution has density, which means ρ is constant. The center of mass is not generally the point at which a plane separates the distribution of mass into two equal halves, in analogy with statistics, the median is not the same as the mean. The coordinates R of the center of mass of a system, P1 and P2, with masses m1. The percentages of mass at each point can be viewed as projective coordinates of the point R on this line, another way of interpreting the process here is the mechanical balancing of moments about an arbitrary point
This toy uses the principles of center of mass to keep balance on a finger
Estimated center of mass/gravity (blue sphere) of a gymnast at the end of performing a cartwheel. Notice center is outside the body in this position.
Diagram of an educational toy that balances on a point: the center of mass (C) settles below its support (P)