WHY?

Total Mass

WE want to calculate the total mass of a system of particles or an extended object. How we calculate it depends on the type of system. We call a system discrete if it is composed of only point like particles. We call a system continuous if you cannot describe your system that way. Essentially, can you invoke the particle approximation for each constituent object in your system? If yes, your system is discrete If not, it is continuous. At the moment we consider discrete systems here. For continuous systems, we need to know the density distribution

Total mass for a discrete system

We have a system of \(N\) objects that can each be modeled as a particle. Each object has mass \(m_i\) where \(i\) is a index distinguishing one object from another and runs from 1 to \(N\). The total mass of the system, \(M\) is simply the sum of all the individual masses. $$M = \sum_{i=1}^{N} m_i$$

That's simple enough!

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