Forces are in action all around us. Forces act on an object and cause changes. It can cause an object to move more quickly or to come to a full stop through a push, a pull, a spin or a thrust for example. There are many different ways that a force can be exerted over something. It can cause an object to change direction as well as cause an increase or reduction in speed. An object’s shape can also be changed as a result of the forces acting over it.
You can measure forces even if they can’t be seen. We measure them using an instrument called a newton metre. This measures force in a unit called newtons.
There are contact forces which result from a push or pull and non-contact forces such as gravity, magnetic force or static electricity. This means that objects don’t need to come into contact for a force to be exerted.
Friction is a type of force which occurs when two surfaces slide past one another. Friction is a force that goes against motion.
Multiple force can act on an object at one time and these can be added together to calculate the ‘resultant force’. If there is no resultant force then an object will stay at the same speed because it is said to be in an a state of equilibrium. If a resultant force is not zero, then the object will either speed up or slow down.
Force is calculated using the formula:
Force = mass x acceleration
Now that you have some idea about forces and what they are, take a look at our forces song to consolidate your knowledge.
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