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Sir Isaac Newton

IPC: Newtons Laws

Newtons Laws

Sir Isaac Newton

Newton discovered the relationship between an objects
mass, acceleration, and the forces acting upon it.
Before the age of 30,
he formulated the laws of mechanics
discovered the law of universal gravitation
invented calculus.
Newton lived from 1642-1727; the same time that the first
colonists were trying to settle the American Colonies.
He was a professor at Cambridge University, and
was a bit of a recluse. He locked himself in his office
for nearly a year while writing his book describing the
laws of mechanics, letting himself out only to get the
meals being placed outside his office door.
Before digging into Newtons Laws of Motion, let's talk about
some of the concepts that you will need to better understand
Newtons discoveries.


A FORCE is a push or a pull, or any action that

has the ability to change motion.
A force has the ability to cause motion but doesnt
always cause motion--if
you dont push hard enough on a
car sitting still, it wont move
Metric unit of force is the Newton.
One Newton,

Other important units

Metric unit of mass is the kilogram.

English unit of force is the pound.

We tend to use mass and weight interchangeably in
our measurement system, but mass and weight are
NOT the same thing.

Mass vs Weight
Your mass is the amount of matter in an
An objects mass is the same no matter where the
object is in the universe.
Mass resists the action of forces by making
objects harder to accelerate.
The weight of an object is the result of the
gravitational force pulling on an objects mass.
In different gravitational fields, such as the moon
or the Earth, an objects weight will be different.

Gravity is a force that pulls
objects towards each other
There is a gravitational
attraction between every two
objects in the universe
You are most familiar with
Earths gravity
The acceleration due to
gravity (on Earth) is 9.8
Mars and the moon both
have gravitational fields
smaller than Earth
Jupiter has more gravity
than Earth

g=9.8 m/s2

Calculating Weight
Weight is a force
Weight is the force exerted
by gravity on an objects
Formula for calculating
weight (on Earth) is:


W mg

due to gravity

W m(9.8 m/s )

Gravity is
different on earth
and on mars so
the same mass has
a different weight
on each planet

INERTIA is defined as the property of an
object to resist changing its state of motion.
Mass is a measure of the inertia of an object,
because the greater the mass of an object, the
greater the inertia of the object.

Newtons First Law of Motion

An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on
by an unbalanced force. An object in motion will
continue with constant speed and direction, unless
acted on by an unbalanced force.

Referred to as the Law of Inertia, because it

describes the property of inertia.
Your personal experience of this: you are in a car
and you hit the brakes--your body tries to keep
moving forward.
The greater the mass of an object, the greater its

Newtons Second Law

The acceleration of an object is directly proportional
to the force acting on it and inversely proportional to
its mass.
When F, a (if mass remains constant); when F remains
constant, if a, then m
Mathematically, we write this law as F = ma
Force causes an object to accelerate, while the objects
mass resists acceleration.
Acceleration is equal to the ratio of force over mass.
Changes in speed or direction all involve acceleration.
Force causes acceleration, this is how we create changes in

Why do all objects with negligible

air resistance accelerate toward
the Earth at the same rate?
How can Newtons 2nd Law be used
to explain how air resistance
affects the acceleration of an
object in free fall?
How does Newtons 2nd Law relate to
what a weight scale would read as you
move up and down on an elevator?

Newtons Third Law

The force & reaction force are a force pair, and they act on a
single object

How do Newtons Laws of motion

apply to these situations?

an object rests in your hand

a ball is tossed upward
a car windshield hits a bug
a person sits on a table
a person jumps up from the floor
a baseball bat hits a baseball
a truck and car hit head-on


Net Force (F)

The motion of an object depends upon the total of
all forces acting on the object.
The total of all forces is the NET FORCE.
Forces that push or pull in opposite
directions have opposite signs.
Imagine that the object that has forces
acting upon it is at the 0 place in
the center of a four quadrant grid.
Forces that push or pull the
object to the right are positive
Forces that push or pull the
object to the left are negative.
Forces that push or pull the object
below the x axis are negative
Forces that push or pull the
object above the x axis are

The net force acting on an object is the

vector sum of all the forces acting on it.
9 lb

8 lb
8 lb

6 lb

3 lb

4 lb
7 lb

12 lb

5 lb

If an object is remaining at rest, it

is incorrect to assume that there
are no forces acting on the object.
We can only conclude that the
net force on the object is zero.

8 lb

4 lb

4 lb

7 lb

When the net forces on an
object cancel each other out
(they are balanced), the
object is in equilibrium.
When two teams playing tug
of war are not moving the
rope one direction or the
other, they are pulling
equally, nobody moves at
When an object is in
equilibrium, the net force on
the object is equal to zero.





Friction is a force that occurs
between two objects moving
across each other
The surface of any object is not
perfectly smooth; the microscopic
hills and valleys cause objects to
resist sliding across each other
Friction is always opposite the
direction of motion (opposite the
applied force)
Friction in engines and other
machines causes wear, damage
due to friction interfering with part

Friction and Motion

Friction opposes motion,
so when friction is
present in a system, we
get speed and other
motion measurements
that are less than we
Friction is subtracted
from the force causing

Types of Friction
Static friction
between two objects that prevents them from sliding across each other

Kinetic friction
two objects sliding across each other

Air resistance
opposing force caused by air moving around an object

the resistance of liquids to flow