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“Moment,” as used in physics, means the amount of a force that rotates the object. The term “moment” is used in regard to a number of different kinds of forces: mechanical, electrical, magnetic, etc.

When the term “moment” is used in regard to mechanical force, it is called the “moment of force.” For example, when turning a nut with a wrench, one can measure the “moment of force” exerted on the nut. If it were in regard to electrical force, it would be called “dipole moment.” If in regard to magnetic force, it would be called “magnetic moment.”

The mechanical moment, “moment of force,” is also called “torque.” If a workman applies 100 pounds of force to the end of the wrench, and the distance to the nut is 12 inches, the moment of force is 100 pounds times 12 inches or 1,200 inch-pounds. The distance is measured along the path which the force “travels.”

Calculating moment. Moment is always calculated as the amount of force being applied times the distance, which is measured along the path through which the force travels. In the case of mechanical force, maximum force combined with a distance that maximizes the effectiveness of the angle at which it’s applied, maximizes the moment of force (torque).