A translational equilibrium is a state in which all of the forces acting on an object cancel each other out. This means that the object will not move, or it may move very slowly.
Translational equilibrium only occurs for objects that are moving with constant speed and in a straight line.
The easiest way to think about translational equilibrium is by using Newton’s first law, which says that an object in a state of rest or uniform motion tends to remain in that state unless acted upon by an external force.
In other words, if you have an object moving at a constant speed, there are no forces acting upon it to change its velocity (so it tends to remain at rest or continue moving at the same speed).
This means that if there is no net force acting on the object, it won’t move — or if it does move, then only very slowly because friction will act as an opposing force on it.
Last modified: September 6, 2022