# The generalized Lami's theorem

In statics, Lami's theorem is an equation relating the magnitudes of three coplanar, concurrent and non-collinear vectors, which keeps an object in static equilibrium, with the angles directly opposite to the corresponding vectors. According to the theorem

$$\frac{F_1}{\sin{\alpha}}=\frac{F_2}{\sin{\beta}}=\frac{F_3}{\sin{\gamma}}.\tag{1}$$

where $$F_1$$, $$F_2$$ and $$F_3$$ are the magnitudes of the three coplanar, concurrent and non-collinear vectors which keep the object in static equilibrium, and $$\alpha$$, $$\beta$$ and $$\gamma$$ are the angles directly opposite to the vectors (see Figure 1).

Lami's theorem is applied in static analysis of mechanical and structural systems. The theorem is named after Bernard Lamy. Its proof is essentially based on the law of sines.

On the Internet there are hundreds of static equilibrium problems where they apply Lami's theorem to a three-force system, see for instance Dubey - Engineering Mechanics: Statics and Dynamics, section 3.10. Although Dubey's book is recent (2013), there is not a single equilibrium problem based on a four-force system. Coincidentally, the author of this note has come across questions on the Internet questioning the possibility of applying Lami's theorem for more than three forces. In this note we give a generalization of Lami's theorem for four forces.

Theorem 1 (Generalization). If four coplanar, concurrent and non-collinear forces act upon an object, and the object remains in static equilibrium, then

$$AD\sin{\alpha'}+BC\sin{\gamma'}=AB\sin{\beta'}+CD\sin{\delta'}.\tag{2}$$

where $$A$$, $$B$$, $$C$$ and $$D$$ are the magnitudes of the four vectors and $$\alpha'$$, $$\beta'$$, $$\gamma'$$ and $$\delta'$$ are the angles between them (see Figure 2).

Proof. Consider the quadrilateral formed by the four vectors in such a manner that the head of one touches the tail of another (see Figure 3) and denote $$\Delta$$ its area. If $$\alpha$$, $$\beta$$, $$\gamma$$ and $$\delta$$ are the interior angles of the quadrilateral, then its area can be written as $$\Delta=\frac12AD\sin{\alpha}+\frac12BC\sin{\gamma}=\frac12AB\sin{\beta}+\frac12CD\sin{\delta}\tag{3}$$ and as $$\sin{\alpha'}=\sin{(\pi-\alpha)}=\sin{\alpha}$$, and similarly for $$\beta'$$, $$\gamma'$$ and $$\delta'$$, the relation in $$(2)$$ follows. $$\square$$

Theorem 1 is a generalization in the sense that if one of the vectors vanishes, the relation we obtain is that of Lami's theorem. Indeed, for instance suppose $$C=0$$, then the relation $$(2)$$ reduces to $$D\sin{\alpha'}=B\sin{\beta'},\tag{4}$$ which is Lami's theorem.

Questions: Is Lami's theorem used in the design of cranes as the image below suggest? If so, could the generalization presented be used in the design of more efficient cranes given that we have 4 vectors instead of 3?

• I am working on a method that replaces the use of vector components (as Lami's theorem does for three-force systems) for four-force based systems, both in 2D and 3D. So any approach based on vector components falls outside my purposes. Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 19:34