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In Grade 10 we studied motion but not what caused the motion. In this chapter we will learn that a net force is needed to cause motion. We recall what a force is and learn about how force and motion are related. We are introduced to two new concepts, momentum and impulse, and we learn more about turning forces and the force of gravity.


What is a force ?

A force is anything that can cause a change to objects. Forces can:

  • change the shape of an object
  • accelerate or stop an object
  • change the direction of a moving object.

A force can be classified as either a contact force or a non-contact force .

A contact force must touch or be in contact with an object to cause a change. Examples of contact forces are:

  • the force that is used to push or pull things, like on a door to open or close it
  • the force that a sculptor uses to turn clay into a pot
  • the force of the wind to turn a windmill

Write down 5 examples (excluding those given above) of contact forces that you see on your way to school.

A non-contact force does not have to touch an object to cause a change. Examples of non-contact forces are:

  • the force due to gravity, like the Earth pulling the Moon towards itself
  • the force due to electricity, like a proton and an electron attracting each other
  • the force due to magnetism, like a magnet pulling a paper clip towards itself

The unit of force is the newton (symbol N ). This unit is named after Sir Isaac Newton who first defined force. Force is a vector quantity and has a magnitude and a direction. We use the abbreviation F for force.

Interesting fact

There is a popular story that while Sir Isaac Newton was sitting under an apple tree, an apple fell on his head, and he suddenly thought of the Universal Law of Gravitation. Coincidently, the weight of a small apple is approximately 1 N.

Interesting fact

Force was first described by Archimedes of Syracuse (circa 287 BC - 212 BC). Archimedes was a Greek mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, physicist and engineer. He was killed by a Roman soldier during the sack of the city, despite orders from the Roman general, Marcellus, that he was not to be harmed.

This chapter will often refer to the resultant force acting on an object. The resultant force is simply the vector sum of all the forces acting on the object. It is very important to remember that all the forces must be acting on the same object. The resultant force is the force that has the same effect as all the other forces added together.

Examples of forces in physics

Most of Physics revolves around the study of forces. Although there are many different forces, all are handled in the same way. All forces in Physics can be put into one of four groups. These are gravitational forces, electromagnetic forces, strong nuclear forces and weak nuclear forces. You will mostly come across gravitational or electromagnetic forces at school.

Gravitational forces

Gravity is the attractive force between two objects due to the mass of the objects. When you throw a ball in the air, its mass and the Earth's mass attract each other, which leads to a force between them. The ball falls back towards the Earth, and the Earth accelerates towards the ball. The movement of the Earth towards the ball is, however, so small that you couldn't possibly measure it.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Maths test. OpenStax CNX. Feb 09, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11236/1.2
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