<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Newton’s law of gravitation

Newton’s law of gravitation can be expressed as

F 12 = G m 1 m 2 r 2 r ^ 12

where F 12 is the force on object 1 exerted by object 2 and r ^ 12 is a unit vector that points from object 1 toward object 2.

As shown in [link] , the F 12 vector points from object 1 toward object 2, and hence represents an attractive force between the objects. The equal but opposite force F 21 is the force on object 2 exerted by object 1.

The figure shows two circular objects, one smaller, labeled as mass m1 on the lower left, and the larger one labeled m2 on the upper right. The center of each object is labeled C M. A line is drawn joining the center of the objects and is labeled as r. Two red arrows and two black arrows, one each from the center of each object, are drawn toward each other. The black arrow from the center of mass 1 is labeled r hat 1 2 and the red arrow from mass 1 is labeled F 1 2. The black arrow from the center of mass 2 is labeled r hat 2 1 and the red arrow from mass 2 is labeled F 2 1.
Gravitational force acts along a line joining the centers of mass of two objects.

These equal but opposite forces reflect Newton’s third law, which we discussed earlier. Note that strictly speaking, [link] applies to point masses—all the mass is located at one point. But it applies equally to any spherically symmetric objects, where r is the distance between the centers of mass of those objects. In many cases, it works reasonably well for nonsymmetrical objects, if their separation is large compared to their size, and we take r to be the distance between the center of mass of each body.

The cavendish experiment

A century after Newton published his law of universal gravitation, Henry Cavendish determined the proportionality constant G by performing a painstaking experiment. He constructed a device similar to that shown in [link] , in which small masses are suspended from a wire. Once in equilibrium, two fixed, larger masses are placed symmetrically near the smaller ones. The gravitational attraction creates a torsion (twisting) in the supporting wire that can be measured.

The constant G is called the universal gravitational constant    and Cavendish determined it to be G = 6.67 × 10 −11 N · m 2 /kg 2 . The word ‘universal’ indicates that scientists think that this constant applies to masses of any composition and that it is the same throughout the Universe. The value of G is an incredibly small number, showing that the force of gravity is very weak. The attraction between masses as small as our bodies, or even objects the size of skyscrapers, is incredibly small. For example, two 1.0-kg masses located 1.0 meter apart exert a force of 6.7 × 10 −11 N on each other. This is the weight of a typical grain of pollen.

The figure illustrates the Cavendish experiment. A horizontal bar, centered on a stand, supports two spheres of mass M, one at either of its ends. The point where the bar sits on the stand is labeled
Cavendish used an apparatus similar to this to measure the gravitational attraction between two spheres ( m ) suspended from a wire and two stationary spheres ( M ). This is a common experiment performed in undergraduate laboratories, but it is quite challenging. Passing trucks outside the laboratory can create vibrations that overwhelm the gravitational forces.

Although gravity is the weakest of the four fundamental forces of nature, its attractive nature is what holds us to Earth, causes the planets to orbit the Sun and the Sun to orbit our galaxy, and binds galaxies into clusters, ranging from a few to millions. Gravity is the force that forms the Universe.

Problem-solving strategy: newton’s law of gravitation

To determine the motion caused by the gravitational force, follow these steps:

  1. Identify the two masses, one or both, for which you wish to find the gravitational force.
  2. Draw a free-body diagram, sketching the force acting on each mass and indicating the distance between their centers of mass.
  3. Apply Newton’s second law of motion to each mass to determine how it will move.

Questions & Answers

what is the difference between resultant force and net force
Ogali Reply
net force is when you add forces numerically I.e. the total sum of all positive and negative or balanced and unbalanced forces. resultant force is a single vector which is the combination or addition of all x and y axes vector component forces in a system.
emmanuel
thanks
Ogali
Damping is provided by tuning the turbulence levels in the moving water using baffles.How it happens? Give me a labelled diagram of it.
Shaina Reply
A 10kg ball travelling at 4meter per second collides elastically in a head-on collision with a 2kg ball.What are (a)the velocities and (b)the total momentum of the balls after collision?
Law Reply
a)v1 8/3s&v2 20/3s. b)in elastic collision total momentum is conserved.
Bala
The displacement of the air molecules in sound wave is modeled with the wave function s(x,t)=5.00nmcos(91.54m−1x−3.14×104s−1t)s(x,t)=5.00nmcos(91.54m−1x−3.14×104s−1t) . (a) What is the wave speed of the sound wave? (b) What is the maximum speed of the air molecules as they oscillate in simple harmon
Shaina Reply
practical 1st year physics
Nsc Reply
huh
Luminous
Whats the formular for newton law of motion
Ahmad Reply
f=ma
Fahad
F=m×a Where F=force M=mass of a body of an object a=acceleration due to gravity
Abubakar
what is speed
Hassan Reply
distance travelled per unit of time is speed.
Fahad
distance travelled in a particular direction it is.
Andrew
Speed is define as the distance move per unit time. Mathematically is given as Speed = distance/time Speed = s/t
Abubakar
speed is a vector quantity. It is defined distance per unit time.It's unit in c.g.s cm/s and in S.I. m/s.It’s dimension is LT^-1
Mukulika
formula for velocity
Amraketa Reply
v=ms^-1 velocity=distance time
Cleophas
(p-a/v)(v-b)=nrt what is the dimension of a
Amraketa
velocity= displacement time
Gold
Velocity = speed/time
Abubakar
what are evasive medical diagnosis?
Shaina Reply
If the block is displaced to a position y , the net force becomes Fnet=k(y−y0)−mg=0Fnet=k(y−y0)−mg=0 . But we found that at the equilibrium position, mg=kΔy=ky0−ky1mg=kΔy=ky0−ky1 . Substituting for the weight in the equation yields. Show me an equation of graph.
Shaina
Hello
Nisar
Hello
Nisar
simple harmonic motion defination
Maharam Reply
how to easily memorize motion equation
Maharam
how speed destrog is uranium
Sayed Reply
where can we find practice problems?
bonokuhle Reply
I'm not well
YAZID
ask
Sayed
can u tell me the expression for radial acceleeation
Shikha Reply
No
YAZID
Is equal to the square of the velocity divided by the radius of circular path of the object
Mukhtaar
how to find maximum acceleration and velocity of simple harmonic motion?
chander
how to find maximum acceleration and velocity of simple harmonic motion and where it occurres?
chander
you can use either motion equations or kinetic equation and potential equation .
lasitha
how destraction 1kg uranium
Sayed
A Radial Acceleration is defined as the upward movement of an object.
Andrew
A body of 2.0kg mass makes an elastic collision with another at rest and continues to more in the original direction but with 1/4 of its ori is the mass of the struck body?
bright Reply
pls help me solve this problem
bright
why do sound travel faster in the night than in the day
Isaac Reply
I believe because speed is a function of air density, and colder air is more dense
Jerry
At night air is denser because of humidity.
Clifton
Night air is cooler. Sound requires medium to travel so the denser the medium the fastest the sound travels. Humid air is denser then warmer air as in day.
Clifton
The humidity statement is misleading , colder air is more dense period.
Jerry
because there is no any other sound to reverberate with it so it clearly travel to lot of distance and also humidity and also due to denser air at night
Azam
please could you guys help me with physics best websites
Baje
because it is quiet at night. this takes us to the topic wave, it depends on the wave at that moment, which Echo's....sound travelled.
Andrew
because it is quite at night. this takes us to the topic wave , it depends on the wave at that the physics
mehreen
Practice Key Terms 2

Get the best University physics vol... course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, University physics volume 1. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12031/1.5
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'University physics volume 1' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask