# Second moment of area

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The second moment of area, or second area moment, or quadratic moment of area and also known as the area moment of inertia, is a geometrical property of an area which reflects how its points are distributed with regard to an arbitrary axis. The second moment of area is typically denoted with either an ${\displaystyle I}$ (for an axis that lies in the plane of the area) or with a ${\displaystyle J}$ (for an axis perpendicular to the plane). In both cases, it is calculated with a multiple integral over the object in question. Its dimension is L (length) to the fourth power. Its unit of dimension, when working with the International System of Units, is meters to the fourth power, m4, or inches to the fourth power, in4, when working in the Imperial System of Units or the US customary system.
Different disciplines use the term moment of inertia (MOI) to refer to different moments. It may refer to either of the planar second moments of area (often ${\textstyle I_{x}=\iint _{R}y^{2}\,dA}$ or ${\textstyle I_{y}=\iint _{R}x^{2}\,dA,}$ with respect to some reference plane), or the polar second moment of area (${\textstyle I=\iint _{R}r^{2}\,dA}$, where r is the distance to some reference axis). In each case the integral is over all the infinitesimal elements of area, dA, in some two-dimensional cross-section. In physics, moment of inertia is strictly the second moment of mass with respect to distance from an axis: ${\textstyle I=\int _{Q}r^{2}dm}$, where r is the distance to some potential rotation axis, and the integral is over all the infinitesimal elements of mass, dm, in a three-dimensional space occupied by an object Q. The MOI, in this sense, is the analog of mass for rotational problems. In engineering (especially mechanical and civil), moment of inertia commonly refers to the second moment of the area.[1]