Center of gravity

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The center of mass or mass center is the mean location of all the mass in a system. In the case of a rigid body, the position of the center of mass is fixed in relation to the body. In the case of a loose distribution of masses in free space, such as shot from a shotgun or the planets of the solar system, the position of the center of mass is a point in space among them that may not correspond to the position of any individual mass. The use of the mass center often allows the use of simplified equations of motion, and it is a convenient reference point for many other calculations in physics, such as angular momentum or the moment of inertia. In many applications, such as orbital mechanics, objects can be replaced by point masses located at their mass centers for the purposes of analysis.

The center of mass of a body does not generally coincide with its geometric center, and this property can be exploited. Engineers try to design a sports car's center of mass as low as possible to make the car handle better. When high jumpers perform a "Fosbury Flop", they bend their body in such a way that it is possible for the jumper to clear the bar while his or her center of mass does not