Newton’s Second Law of Motion
tells us that we need a in order to create an . As you might expect, a larger net force will cause a larger acceleration, but the more matter you are trying to accelerate the larger force will be required. summarizes all of that into a single equation relating the , , and :
Finding Net Force from Acceleration
Everyday Example: Parachute Opening
In the previous chapter we found that if opening a parachute slows a skydiver from 54 m/s to 2.7 m/s in just 2 s of time then they experienced an average upward acceleration of 26 m/s/s . If the mass of our example skydiver is 85 kg, what is the average net force on the person? What is the average force on them from the harness?
We start with Newton’s Second Law of Motion
Enter in our values:
The person experiences an average net force of 2200 N upward during chute opening. When the chute begins to open they are still moving near terminal velocity so air resistance is nearly balancing their weight and the harness provides most of the extra 2200 N upward force on the person. That force is 2.7 times their body weight (Fg = 85 kg x 9.8 m/s/s = 833 N).
Reinforcement Exercises: Failed Chute Opening
If the skydiver in the previous example experienced a failed chute opening and hit the ground so that they came to an abrupt stop in a time of only 0.2 s (instead of slowing to 2.7 m/s in 2 s) what is their acceleration?
What is the average net force on them during the stop?
The normal force from the ground must be large enough to cancel the skydiver’s weight and still provide the upward net force you found above. How big is the normal force from the ground?
How many times larger is this normal force than their weight?
Reinforcement Exercises: Baby Toss
You’d like to accelerate a 7.6 kg baby from rest to 1.5 m/s over 1.0 s. What is the baby’s acceleration?
What net force is required?
Draw a free body diagram of the situation, that shows the baby’s and the force you are providing.
Considering the baby’s weight, what actual force do you need to provide for the baby to experience the net force you calculated above?
Once the baby is in the air, what acceleration will they have? (Assume they are moving slowly enough that air resistance is ).
Using the definition of average acceleration, find the time that the baby was in the air before their velocity reached zero at the top of the toss.
What was the total “hang time” for the baby? (Finish this unit to learn how we calculate the height reached by the baby in this case).
When you catch the baby do you keep your arms held rigid or do you move your hands downward with the baby as you make the catch? Explain why in terms of .
Finding Acceleration from Net Force
If we know the net force and want to find the acceleration, we can solve in terms of the acceleration instead:
Now we see that larger create larger and larger masses reduce the size of the acceleration. In fact, an object’s is a direct measure of an objects resistance to changing its motion, or its .
You slide a box across the floor by applying a 220 N force to the right. applies a reactive 170 N force on the box to the left.
What is the size and direction of the on the box?
The box has a mass of 25 kg. What is the size and direction of the on the box?
The box is not accelerating in the vertical direction, so what is the net vertical force? [Hint: Forces in different dimensions (vertical and horizontal) don’t affect one another and applies separately to each dimension.]
How big is the on the box?
What is the value of the kinetic?
Check out this simulation to see how forces combine to create net forces and accelerations:
In the absence of air resistance, heavy objects do not fall faster than lighter ones and all objects will fall with the same acceleration. Need experimental evidence? Check out this video:
It’s an interesting quirk of our universe that the same property of an object, specifically its , determines both the on it and its resistance to accelerations, or . Said another way, the inertial mass and the gravitational mass are equivalent. That is why we the free-fall acceleration for all objects has a of 9.8 m/s/s, as we will show in the following example.
Everyday Example: Free-Falling
Let’s calculate the initial of our example skydiver the moment they jump. At this moment they have the pulling them down, but they have not yet gained any , so the () is zero. The is then just gravity, because it is the only force, so they are in free-fall for this moment. Starting with :
And inserting our known formula for calculating force of gravity near the surface of Earth and including a negative sign because down is our negative direction, ():
We see that the cancels out,
We see that our is negative, which makes sense because the acceleration is downward. We also see that the size, or magnitude, of the acceleration is g = 9.8 m/s2. We have just shown that in the absence of , all objects falling near the surface of Earth will experience an equal in size to 9.8 m/s2, regardless of their and . Whether the free-fall acceleration is -9.8 m/s/s or +9.8 m/s/s depends on if you chose downward to be the negative or positive direction.
an object's motion will not change unless it experiences a net force
the total amount of remaining unbalanced force on an object
the change in velocity per unit time, the slope of a velocity vs. time graph
the acceleration experienced by an object is equal to the net force on the object divided my the object's mass
a measurement of the amount of matter in an object made by determining its resistance to changes in motion (inertial mass) or the force of gravity applied to it by another known mass from a known distance (gravitational mass). The gravitational mass and an inertial mass appear equal.
the force of gravity on on object, typically in reference to the force of gravity caused by Earth or another celestial body
small enough as to not push the results of an analysis outside the desired level of accuracy
the tenancy of an object to resist changes in motion
a force that resists the sliding motion between two surfaces
the outward force supplied by an object in response to being compressed from opposite directions, typically in reference to solid objects.
coefficient describing the combined roughness of two surfaces and serving as the proportionality constant between friction force and normal force
attraction between two objects due to their mass as described by Newton's Universal Law of Gravitation
the size or extent of a vector quantity, regardless of direction
distance traveled per unit time
a force acting opposite to the relative motion of any object moving with respect to a surrounding fluid
a force applied by a fluid to any object moving with respect to the fluid, which acts opposite to the relative motion of the object relative to the fluid