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- Friction Handout
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- Understanding Effect of Forces
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A force can give energy to an object causing the object to start moving, stop moving, or change its motion. Forces occur in pairs and can be either balanced or unbalanced. Balanced forces do not cause a change in motion. They are equal in size and opposite in direction. Try arm wrestling with your friend. Lets find out who is stronger. If you compete against someone who is just about as strong as you are, there will probably be a time when both of you are pushing as hard as you can, but your arms stay in the same place. This is an example of balanced forces. The force exerted by each person is equal, but they are pushing in opposite directions, in this case together. It would look something like this.

Because the force that each of you is exerting is equal, the two forces cancel each other out and the resulting force is zero. Therefore, there is no change in motion. Another great place to see balanced forces in action is in a tug of war. This is similar to an arm wrestling match, only in this case the forces are moving away from each other. Just like in arm wrestling, if the two teams have equal strength, or force, the rope will stay pretty much in the same place. It would look like this.

Again the resulting force is zero and there is no change in motion. UNBALANCED FORCES: An unbalanced force is any force that is not opposed by some other force. For example, gravity exerts a force on your body that is perfectly opposed by the force the ground exerts on the bottom of your feet. As a result, you do not sink into the ground or fly up into the air, even though there are forces exerted on you that would, if unopposed, cause these things to happen. Unlike balanced forces, unbalanced forces always cause a change in motion. They are not equal and opposite. When unbalanced forces act in opposite direction , their combined force or net force is equal to the difference between them. This Force will act in the direction of the larger force.

Going back to the arm wrestling match, imagine that you are competing against a world famous body builder. Chances are that his force will be much greater than yours. Your arms will move in the direction he is pushing with a force that is equal to his force minus your force. It will look like this.

Or imagine that you and your friends are having a tug of war with the U.S. olympic weight lifting team. Again their force will probably be a little larger than yours. You will move in the direction they are pulling with a force that is equal to their force minus your force. It will look like this.

Unbalanced forces can also be exerted in the same direction. For example, imagine that your family's car breaks down on the road and you have to push it into a parking lot. If you and your brother or sister both push on the car, the resulting force on the car will be the sum of your forces and of course be in the direction that you are applying the force. The figure below shows how this would work.

Two important things to remember when working with balanced and unbalanced forces are 1) forces in the same direction combine by addition, and 2) forces in opposite directions combine by subtraction. It can also be gathered thus, that if the NET or TOTAL force acting on an object is nonzero or more than Zero, the forces are unbalanced. So For eg, if the larger force is 2N and the smaller force is 1N then : Net Force= Larger force- smaller force Net force = 2N – 1N Net force = 1N This is a case where forces are unbalanced since the value of the net force is more than 0. This extra force will cause the object to move if it was at rest, speed up or accelerate or slow down and /or change its direction. If the forces were balanced ie. Both forces working on the object were of equal magnitude, of 2N, they would result in 0N. PS: Please follow the links given in the forum for better understanding of this topic. Also gather notes from these links and discuss in class.

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