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Force Notes

Newton’s Laws

So far, we have discussed displacement, velocity, and acceleration (all ways to describe

motion). In this unit we will discuss forces, which explain why objects move.

important relationship in physics – the relationship

between force, mass, and acceleration.

His 3 laws (Newton’s Laws of Motion) explain why

objects move (or don’t move) as they do.

Ex: gravity, magnetic, electrical, or a physical

push/pull. Whenever there is an interaction between

two objects, there is a force upon each of the objects.

can represent forces with arrows.

5N

Unit for force is

Newtons (N)

5N 5N

Multiple forces may

1N act upon the same

5N

object

Types of Forces simultaneously.

All forces (interactions) between objects can be placed into two broad categories:

• forces resulting from action-at-a-distance (gravity, magnetism)

or pull)

(also known as itself. Objects on Earth experience a force of gravity,

Weight) which pulls "downward" towards the center of the

earth.

Fgrav

Newton’s Laws of Motion

-2-

The support force exerted upon an object which is in

contact with another stable object. Often balances out

Fnorm gravity.

or tries to move across it.

Ffrict

travel through the air.

Fair

it is pulled tight by forces acting from both ends.

Ftens

upon any object which is attached to it.

Fspring

Free Body Diagram – Drawing that shows all forces acting on an object.

(Object may be represented as a “dot”

the force.

Fgrav = Force of Gravity

Fg

Fp = Force of Push

Fnorm = Normal Force (opposes gravity)

2. A girl is suspended motionless from the ceiling by two ropes.

3. An egg is free-falling from a nest in a tree. Neglect air resistance.

4. A flying squirrel is gliding from a tree to the ground at constant velocity.

Consider air resistance.

5. A rightward force is applied to a book in order to move it across a desk with a

rightward acceleration. Consider frictional forces.

6. A rightward force is applied to a book in order to move it across a desk at

constant velocity.

Newton’s Laws of Motion

-3-

Determining Net Forces

- Same direction: add

- Opposite direction: subtract

4N

3N 6N

Free-body diagrams for four situations are shown below. The net force is known for each situation.

However, the magnitudes of a few of the individual forces are not known. Analyze each situation

individually and determine the magnitude of the unknown forces.

Newton’s Laws of Motion

-4-

Newton’s First Law: An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends

to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by

an unbalanced force.

This is often called the law of inertia. Inertia is the tendency of an object to resist

change in its state of motion (velocity).

Fnet = 0 Fnet ≠ 0

accelerates)

Example: When driving in a car, how do you feel (which way do you lean) when the

car…

Action of Car Passenger Observations Why?

speed

Turns left

Speeds up

Slows down

Q: So why does a ball rolling along the ground eventually come to a stop? Shouldn’t it

keep going because of inertia?

Try this: Push your textbook across the surface of your desk.

What happens when you stop pushing? Why?

Q: Imagine a place in the cosmos far from all gravitational and frictional influences.

Suppose that you visit that place (just suppose) and throw a rock. The rock will

a. gradually stop.

constant velocity of 2 m/s. Which one of the following horizontal

forces is necessary to maintain this state of motion?

Newton’s Laws of Motion

-5-

Is a net force displayed in the following situations?

Description of Motion

No?

Objects with greater mass have greater inertia. (Picture the friction created when you push a

Styrofoam brick and a cement brick across the table with equal force.)

What is mass?

- Mass is a measure of the inertia of the object.

- Related to the amount of matter in an object

- Measured in grams, kilograms

____________________________________________________ (measured in Newtons).

Mass and weight are related because the earth pulls more strongly on objects with more

mass, but the numbers are not the same.

Practice This:

Q: What is the weight (in Newtons) of a 7.0-kilogram bowling ball on Earth’s surface?

Newton’s Laws of Motion

-6-

Q: What is the weight of a 7.0-kg bowling ball on the surface of the moon (where g=2.6)?

Q: What is the mass of a 7.0-kg bowling ball on the surface of the moon?

Q: Does a 2-kg iron brick have twice as much inertia as a 1-kg iron brick? Twice as

much mass? Twice as much weight? Twice as much volume?

Q: Does a 2-kg iron brick have twice as much inertia as a 1-kg wooden brick? Twice as

much mass? Twice as much weight? Twice as much volume?

Unbalanced forces acting on an object result in acceleration. Newton’s second law tells

us the relationship between the force and the resulting acceleration.

acting on the object, is in the direction of the net force, and is inversely proportional to

the mass.

Acceleration = Mass = m

Net Force Mass Acceleration

Newton’s Laws of Motion

-7-

(kg)

(N) (m/s/s)

1. 10 2 ?

2. 20 2 ?

3. 20 4 ?

4. ? 2 5

5. 10 ? 10

Q: What (2) changes result in the acceleration being doubled?

Q: In a physics lab, Kate and Rob use a hanging mass and pulley system to exert a 2.45 N

rightward force on a 0.500-kg cart to accelerate it across a low-friction track. If

the total resistance force to the motion of the cart is 0.72 N, then what is the cart's

acceleration?

object to the right across a frictional surface. The object

encounters 10 N of friction. Use the diagram to determine

the normal force, the net force, the mass, and the

acceleration of the object. (Neglect air resistance.)

surface. The object encounters 10 N of friction. Use the diagram to determine the normal

force, the net force, the mass, and the acceleration of the object. (Neglect air resistance.)

Newton’s Laws of Motion

-8-

When acceleration is zero – Equilibrium

Balanced Forces

Object is either at rest (static) or moving at a constant speed: Dynamic Equilibrium

Fill in the chart below:

Movement Static or Dynamic

Equilibrium? Summarize: When is zero

A hockey puck slides at acceleration NOT zero velocity?

constant speed

A pen sits motionless on a

desk

Two friends push with

equal force on each other’s

hands.

Two equally strong teams

play tug-of-war. The rope

does not move

Test your understanding:

Two students are discussing the object shown at the right. Anna Litical

suggests to Noah Formula that the object could be moving. Can you think of

a scenario in which this object is moving vertically? Horizontally?

Balanced Forces

Object is either at rest (static) or moving at a constant speed: Dynamic Equilibrium

Movement Static or Dynamic

Equilibrium? Summarize: When is zero

A hockey puck slides at acceleration NOT zero

constant speed velocity?

A pen sits motionless on a

desk

Two friends push with

equal force on each other’s

hands.

Two equally strong teams

play tug-of-war. The rope

does not move

Q: A jumbo jet cruises at constant velocity of 1000 km/h when the thrusting force of its

engines is at a constant 100,000 N. What is the acceleration of the jet? What is the force

of air resistance on the jet?

Acceleration = __________________ Fair = __________________

Newton’s Laws of Motion

-9-

Friction: Force exerted by a surface as an object moves across it or makes an effort to

move across it.

• Opposes motion

• Depends on characteristics of 2 surfaces in contact

2 Types of Friction

1. Sliding (________________) Friction: results when an object slides across a

surface (ex – pushing a box across the floor. The floor surface exerts a friction

force upon the box.)

to one another. A force exists on one of the objects to set it into motion.

Ex: you push on a heavy box and it does not move. The static friction force balances

the force you exert on the box and the box remains at rest.

The harder you push an object, the greater the static friction force becomes. (Your push

must = friction if the object is not moving). This is true until the object finally begins

moving, then the friction is kinetic.

constant velocity. The object encounters 15 N of frictional force. Use the diagram

to determine the gravitational force, normal force, net force, and applied force.

(Neglect air resistance.)

apply a 34.5 N rightward force to a 4.52-kg cart to accelerate it across a horizontal

surface at a rate of 1.28 m/s/s. Determine the friction force acting upon the cart.

Newton’s Laws of Motion

- 10 -

Terminal velocity (Nonfree-Fall): The velocity at which acceleration terminates for

falling objects.

falling because of gravity. This is true for heavy and light objects, as long

as they are not too influenced by air resistance (ex – a feather).

Note: a rock and a feather will fall at the same speed in a vacuum. Why?

Air resistance acts in the direction opposite the object’s motion. (For falling objects, air

resistance pushes __________)

1. Frontal area of object How much surface area is in contact with the air. For

a feather, large frontal area and little weight slow down movement.

2. Speed of falling object The greater the speed, the more air molecules per

second the object must push through.

that is acting upon an object.

1. Gravity pulls down

2. Air resistance (drag) pushes up

An object will only accelerate when the downward force is larger. Since increased speed

= increased drag, the upward force gets bigger and bigger. Eventually, it is the same

magnitude as Fgrav.

Time

2. Fg > Fair

1. Fg > Fair Accelerates more Fg = Fair

Object slowly Net Force = 0, constant speed

accelerates Terminal Velocity Reached

Q: Describe the changing forces acting on a skydiver from the moment they leave the

plane until they reach terminal velocity.

Terminal velocity for a feather ~ few cm/s

Newton’s Laws of Motion

- 11 -

Why?

Q: A man and a woman are parachuting together. The man weighs twice as much as the

woman and they have the same sized chutes. Who reaches the ground first? Why?

Q: A skydiver jumps from a high-flying helicopter. As she falls faster and faster through

the air, does her acceleration increase, decrease, or remain the same?

interaction between 2 things. All forces exist in pairs.

second object exerts and equal and opposite force on the first.

Ex: When your book sits on a desk, it doesn’t move. Why? Are the forces balanced or

unbalanced?

Draw a free body diagram of the book. What forces are equal and opposite?

Q: On a cold, rainy day, your car battery is dead and you must push the car to get it

started. Why can’t you push the car by remaining comfortably inside and pushing on the

dashboard?

Q: We know the Earth pulls on the Moon. Does the moon also pull on the Earth?

Newton’s Laws of Motion

- 12 -

Q: You hit a baseball with a bat. If we call the force exerted on the ball by the bat the

action force, identify the reaction force.

Q: When a rifle fires a bullet, a force pair exists between the bullet and the rifle. The

force exerted on the bullet is equal to the force exerted on the rifle, which is why the rifle

“kicks back” when fired. Why doesn’t the rifle recoil with the same speed as the bullet?

collide

Holding hand out the

window of a moving car

Walking

your nose

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