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What is Force?

  • Last Updated : 21 Jul, 2021

Force, we all are using this word in our daily life, but we might not know that we are using it. So, what is a force? Let me give some examples, Force is pulling or pushing the door, force is kicking a ball, force is pushing a heavy force. Now, these examples are giving us an idea of what a force looks like. Thus, we define force as a pull or push upon an object resulting from the object’s interaction with another object.  

Force: Push or Pull

So, what it means? Suppose there is a heavy box in a stationary position. Now how will you move the box? When you start pulling or pushing the box then we say you are applying a force. Let’s take another example you are fetching water from a well then you need to pull the bucket of water, again you are applying a force. If you are playing a musical instrument then you are applying a force, if you are closing the door then you are applying a force. So there are so many activities which require a force, and we can’t write every activity here. Thus, we categorize force into two categories: Push and Pull. Some actions require push while some actions require pulling. Some actions require both pushing and pulling, for example, you can push and pull the door.

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What is Push and Pull?

For example, the force has been described as an interaction that, if unchallenged, alters the motion of an item. When we look attentively at this sentence, we can see the function of push-pull in it. 



  • A pull is a force that alters the direction of an item towards you. 
  • If, on the other hand, it travels away, it is considered a push.

Force is sometimes simply described as a push or pull on an object as a result of the object’s contact with another object. As a result, any sort of force is essentially a push or a pull. Elastic and spring forces are additional examples of forces. When pushed, it tends to resist and respond or springs back with the same amplitude.

Push is defined as the force that causes an item to move from its resting position.

Pushing examples include:

  • The trolley is being pushed.
  • When the automobile breaks down, it is pushed.
  • Moving the table from one location to another.

When compared to the push, the pull is defined as the force that causes an item to move from rest in the opposite direction.

Pulling examples include:

  • Pulling the curtain.
  • The box is being dragged. 
  • The door is being opened.

When we analyze a force in a specific circumstance, it can operate as both an internal and exterior force, depending on the system under consideration. This is how we introduced the issue from the beginning, and it stresses the importance of being cautious about the system used when labeling a force as internal or external.

Force

A push or pull of an object is referred to as force in science. Force is created when two things contact. The amount and direction of force are both presents. The magnitude of a force is used to represent its strength. A change in the direction or condition of motion of a body is caused by force. 

When a push or pull is exerted on an item, this is referred to as force



We already know that a magnet can attract iron. As a result, we may say that the magnet attracts the iron piece due to its magnetic force. Similarly, when opposing poles of a magnet resist one other, we may say they are pushing away from each other.

A force can cause an item to move from rest to motion or vice versa. Two or more things must interact with each other for a force to be created. We already know that a magnet can attract iron. As a result of its magnetic force, the magnet draws the iron piece towards itself. Similarly, when opposing poles of a magnet resist one other, we may say they are pushing away from each other.

Different forms of Forces are: 

  • When we apply force in the same direction, it adds up. e.g. if A is pushing a table in one way and B decides to assist A by applying force from the same direction, the forces increase to one another.
  • When we apply force to an item from two distinct directions, a difference between the two forces is created. e.g. if A applies force to push the table in one way and B begins to push the table in the opposite direction, whoever uses more force wins.

Characteristics of Forces

  1. When two forces act in the same direction on an object, the net resultant force is the total of these two forces.
  2. When two forces work in opposing directions, the net resultant force equals the sum of these two forces. The magnitude of the force describes its strength.
  3. The force always has a direction in which it is applied as well as a measure of its size or strength.
  4. When the amount of a force is modified, the consequences of the force may change.
  5. The impact of several forces operating on an item is calculated by determining the net force acting on that object.
  6. When two forces of equal magnitude (strength) and opposing directions operate on an item, the net force exerted on the object is zero.
  7. Force has many impacts on an object’s position, size, and form.

Magnitude and Direction of Force

To move a large weight, the individual must pull or push it in the same direction. When two individuals push or pull a weight in opposite directions, the resultant force is the sum of the two forces. The magnitude of a force expresses its strength. When forces are applied in the opposite direction, the size of the resultant force is reduced.

Furthermore, equal and opposing forces cancel out, thus the resulting force is zero. Force exerted to an item causes a change in velocity as well as a change in shape. Some forces operate on an item by making touch with it, whilst others act without making contact with the object. Touch forces are forces that act when an item comes into contact with them.

Contact forces include muscular force and friction forces. Non-contact forces are those that may act without coming into touch with an item. Gravitational force, electromagnetic force, electrostatic force, and non-contact forces are all examples of forces.

Effects of Forces

When the force is applied to an object then it has different effects like it can change the shape of an object, or it can change the state of motion of that object. Let’s understand the effects of force:

  1. Change in shape: Force will cause a change in shape, for example when hammering a hot iron rod, the force exerted by the hammer will change the object shape, i.e. iron rod will be bent.
  2. Change in size: Force will cause a change in size, stretching a rubber band, the force exerted by stretching a rubber band will cause an increase in the size of the rubber band.
  3. Change in direction: Force will cause a change in direction, for example hitting a football, the time you kick a ball, then its direction will get changed.
  4. Change in speed: When a batsman hit the moving ball with a force will cause an increase in the speed of the ball. Also, the speed of force will depend on which direction it is applying, as if we apply a force in the direction of a moving object then it will cause an increase in speed and when it applies against the moving object then it will decrease the speed of an object.
  5. Change in the state of motion-Rest and motion: Force will cause a change in motion, for example, the force exerted by the motor of the car will enable the car to move, while force exerted by the brake will enable the car to stop.

Types of Force

A Force can act on an object with or without any contacts. For example, if you are pushing or pulling a door then you must have contact with a door while if you have a bar magnet you can easily attract iron nails without having any contact with the nail. So in science, we have two types of forces, one is contact force and the other is a non-contact force. Let’s see in detail what are they with their examples.

(1) Contact Force: The forces which are applied to other objects only through physical touching is called contact forces. Examples of contact force are: muscular and frictional force.

  • Muscular Force- Muscular force is a contact force in which force exerted by the muscles of the body. For example, jumping, kicking, running, walking, climbing, lifting, and pushing all are exerted by our muscles.
  • Frictional Force- Frictional Force is a contact force that always opposes the body’s state of motion over another body. For example, if we stop paddling a bicycle, gradually it gets slows down and stops after covering some distance.

(2) Non-Contact Force: The forces which are applied to other objects without any physical touching are called non-contact forces. Examples of non-contact force are magnetic force, electrostatic force, and gravitational force. Now let’s discuss types of force in detail:



  • Magnetic Force: Magnetic force is a non-contact force exerted by a magnet on any other magnetic substance. For example, if we bring a magnet near an iron nail then the magnet pulls them towards it since magnets exert force.
  • Electrostatic Force: Electrostatic is a non-contact force that can be exerted by a charged object on another object from a distance. For example, when a plastic comb is rubbed in dry hair, then the electrically charged comb attracts a tiny piece of papers
  • Gravitational Force: The Gravitational force is a non-contact force between two bodies having some mass. It is an attractive force. The force of attraction between the earth and any object is called the force of gravity.

Sample Problems

Problem 1: Explain force with the help of an example.

Solution:

The force can be defined as a pull or push upon an object resulting from the object’s interaction with another object. e.g. opening or closing a door, kicking a ball, hammering an iron nail.

Problem 2: What is contact force? Give some examples.

Solution:

The forces that are applied to other objects only through physical touching are called contact forces. Examples of contact forces are the muscular and frictional forces. 

  • Muscular force is a contact force in which force exerted by the muscles of the body. For example, jumping, kicking, running, walking, climbing, lifting, and pushing, etc. 
  • Frictional Force is a contact force that always opposes the body’s state of motion over another body. For example, if we stop paddling a bicycle, gradually it gets slows down and stops after covering some distance.

Problem 3: A boy is applying force, by pushing a box in the west direction. Now in which direction should his friend push the box so that the heavy box moves easily and faster and why?

Solution:

His friend should also push the box in the west direction to move the heavy box easily, as force applies in the same the direction will increase the magnitude.

Problem 4: Is force is a scalar quantity?



Solution:

Force is not a scalar quantity. Since it has both direction and magnitude. Therefore, force is a vector quantity.

Problem 5: An apple falls from the tree, which force is responsible for these phenomenons? Define it.

Solution:

Force of gravity is responsible for the fall of the apple. The Force of gravity is the force of attraction between the earth and any object.

Problem 6: What is the net force? Explain with the help of an example.

Solution: 

The total of all the forces acting on a body is called the net force. For example, if we are pushing a heavy box in the same the direction the resultant force will be added and the box will move easily, while if two-person pushing the same box in an opposite direction then it gets difficult as the resultant forces acting on the force will be the difference between the two forces. 

Mathematically we can write,

Fnet = F1+ F2 (when force applying in the same direction).

Fnet = F1 – F2 ( when force acts in a opposite direction)




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