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Force Facts

There are two types of natural forces that we have around us: magnetic forces and gravity forces.

  • The funny thing about both of gravity force and magnetic force is that they don’t actually have to have contact between the objects, they act at a distance.
  • Gravity creates a force that pulls objects together. An example might be the fact that we are standing on the ground and being pulled by gravity to be there. Gravity force is also at play in keeping the earth going around the sun.

Magnetic force is made when opposite ends of a magnet come together as an attraction or, when they are pushed away when two of the same magnetic ends try to come together. Two positives or two negatives will push away, while a positive and a negative will attract each other.

There are actually six different types of forces that can act upon objects to make them move when they come in contact with each other. All are either a pull or push force: normal force, applied, force, frictional force, tension force, spring force and resisting force.

Normal force is the force of objects that actually support each other. An example might be a cup sitting on a table. Each object is exerting the same amount of force on each other.

  • Applied force is when there is a force that is actually applied to something. An example of this might be pushing down on the lid of a container to snap it shut or even sliding a chair across the room.

Frictional force is any force that is caused due to friction. An example of this might be when you put on the brakes on your bike. The brake pads push on the wheels to cause the friction that slows you down. Frictional force can be beneficial, as in slowing your bike down or destructive as in the case of two pieces of metal rubbing to eventually destroy one or the other.

Tension force is typically the force that is created in pulling a cable, rope or wire to its maximum extension. The process of stretching the item creates a force that actually balances by pulling equally from both directions.

Spring force is created by a spring. An easy example of this would be the child’s toy, the ‘Slinky’. It uses the force of each spring to act on the next one. Spring force uses compression and then releasing or stretching.

An example of resistance force can be that caused by wind or even friction. Wind can use its force to blow a leaf down a street. The friction type of resistance force is when you pick up a pen. It’s the friction between your fingers and the pen that causes resistance force.

There is actually a measurement of ‘force’ called ‘newtons’(N). They are named after the scientist, Isaac Newton who was known for his study of motion and gravity. The device used to measure force is called a newtonmeter. The force of gravity on earth on 2.2 lb. (1 kg) is 9.8 newtons.