# Mass distribution

**Mass distribution** is a term used in physics and mechanics and describes the spatial distribution of mass within a solid body. In principle, it is relevant also for gases or liquids, but on earth their mass distribution is almost homogeneous.

## Contents

## Astronomy

In astronomy mass distribution has decisive influence on the development e.g. of nebulae, stars and planets.
The mass distribution of a **solid** defines its center of gravity and influences its dynamical behaviour - e.g. the oscillations and eventual rotation.

## Mathematical modelling

A mass distribution can be modeled as a measure. This allows point masses, line masses, surface masses, as well as masses given by a volume density function. Alternatively the latter can be generalized to a distribution. For example, a point mass is represented by a delta function defined in 3-dimensional space. A surface mass on a surface given by the equation *f(x,y,z)* = 0 may be represented by a density distribution *g(x,y,z) δ (f(x,y,z))*, where \(g/\mid \nabla f \mid\) is the mass per unit area.

The mathematical modelling can be done by potential theory, by numerical methods (e.g. a great number of mass points), or by theoretical equilibrium figures.

## Geology

In geology the aspects of rock density are involved.

## Rotating solids

Rotating solids are affected considerably by the mass distribution, either if they are homogeneous or inhomogeneous - see Torque, moment of inertia, wobble, imbalance and stability.^{[disambiguation needed]}

## Related topics

- gravity, mass function, Bouguer plate, critical mass
- angular momentum, asymmetry, geoid, isostasy, polar motion
- mass spectrum, molar mass distribution, atmosphere

## External links