Right Hand Rule

right hand rule diagram with fea solutions logo

Right Hand Rule

The right hand rule is applied to define the orientation of axes and the positive direction for rotations in a coordinate system (https://fea-solutions.co.uk/coordinate-systems/).

Firstly, the right hand rule is used to define the directions of a right handed coordinate system, which is exclusively used in engineering. For a right handed coordinate system, the thumb represents the x axis, the index finger y axis and the middle finger z axis.

Rotations around any axis can also be defined using the right hand rule, by holding the right hand with the fingers curled, and the thumb out-stretched. With the thumb representing the positive direction of the axis, the curl of the fingers defines the positive rotation direction.

It has to be pointed out that, as the name says, the right hand has to be used to get the correct results. It is, surprisingly, not uncommon that people use their left hand, thus getting wrong coordinates.

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