Center of Gravity vs Center of Mass

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dmission

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Conceptually, could anyone help explain the difference to me? I think the center of mass is the point through which if a force is applied, all points on the objection would accelerate with the same value. Center of gravity confuses me though... is it the same thing? The point where gravity acts to uniformally accelerate all parts of the object?

Thanks for any clarification.

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MD Odyssey

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Conceptually, could anyone help explain the difference to me? I think the center of mass is the point through which if a force is applied, all points on the objection would accelerate with the same value. Center of gravity confuses me though... is it the same thing? The point where gravity acts to uniformally accelerate all parts of the object?

Thanks for any clarification.

Textbooks get this wrong all the time. Center of mass and center of gravity are not the same thing, but for the MCAT you can assume that they are. The difference is very subtle and it isn't worth trying to explain it in depth here.

In short, the difference is that the center of mass refers to the average distribution of the object's mass while center of gravity refers to the average distribution of its weight. If you have a uniform gravitational field, then these are the same. If not, then they are different.

Like I said, they are technically different, but it's far beyond the scope of the MCAT and thinking of them as anything other than synonyms is likely to be confusing.
 
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