Torque, moment or moment of force (see the terminology below), is the tendency of a force to rotate an object about an axis, fulcrum, or pivot. Just as a force is a push or a pull, a torque can be thought of as a twist to an object. Mathematically, torque is defined as the cross product of force and the lever-arm distance, which tends to produce rotation.

Loosely speaking, torque is a measure of the turning force on an object such as a bolt or a flywheel. For example, pushing or pulling the handle of a wrench connected to a nut or bolt produces a torque (turning force) that loosens or tightens the nut or bolt.

The symbol for torque is typically τ, the Greek letter tau. When it is called moment, it is commonly denoted M.

The magnitude of torque depends on three quantities: the force applied, the length of the lever arm connecting the axis to the point of force application, and the angle between the force vector and the lever arm. In symbols:


τ is the torque vector and τ is the magnitude of the torque,
r is the displacement vector (a vector from the point from which torque is measured to the point where force is applied), and r is the length (or magnitude) of the lever arm vector,
F is the force vector, and F is the magnitude of the force,
× denotes the cross product,
θ is the angle between the force vector and the lever arm vector.

The length of the lever arm is particularly important; choosing this length appropriately lies behind the operation of levers, pulleys, gears, and most other simple machines involving a mechanical advantage.

The SI unit for torque is the newton metre (N·m). For more on the units of torque, see below.

Read more about Torque:  Terminology, History, Definition and Relation To Angular Momentum, Units, Machine Torque, Relationship Between Torque, Power, and Energy, Principle of Moments, Torque Multiplier

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Famous quotes containing the word torque:

    Poetry uses the hub of a torque converter for a jello mold.
    Diane Glancy (b. 1941)