Newton’s first law examples

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Newton’s first law, also known as the law of inertia, states that an object will maintain its state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an external force. In simpler terms, if there are no unbalanced forces acting on an object, it will either remain stationary or continue moving with a constant velocity.

Examples

Football

Newton's first law example - football
Newton’s first law explains that a stationary football remains at rest until a force, like a powerful kick, is applied to it, initiating its motion

Think of one stationary football lying on the ground. What do you think, will this football move on its own? Nope. You must have to kick it or push it, right! As per Newton’s first law, the stationary football (object) will not move on its own unless an unbalanced force acts on it.

Newton's first law example - football
Similarly, a moving football will continue to move with the same speed and direction unless acted upon by an external force

When you throw or kick the football, you’re applying an external force that makes a football move from rest. Similarly, a flying football will also not stop on its own unless an unbalanced force (for example, some other player) stops it.

Car

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Stationary car demonstrates Newton’s first law as it will not start unless someone initiates it

According to Newton’s first law, an object at rest will continue to remain at rest unless an unbalanced force makes it move. A stationary car standing on the road will not start on its own unless someone starts it with a key or maybe an unbalanced force (in the form of someone’s push) acts on it.

Newton's first law example - car
Similarly, Newton’s first law is demonstrated by a moving car that refuses to stop unless acted upon by an external force

While you’re driving a car, your car is in motion. Newton’s first law says that if no external force acts on an object, then an object will continue to remain in motion forever. Here, this moving car will not stop on its own unless an unbalanced force (for example, brakes) stops it.

Puck

Newton's first law example - puck
In accordance with Newton’s first law, a stationary puck remains motionless until it is hit by an external force

Is a hockey puck an example of Newton’s first law? Yes. Here’s how:

Imagine that one hockey puck is resting on ice. According to the first law, an object (in this case, a hockey puck) will not move on its own unless an unbalanced force acts on it. When a hockey player hits a stationary puck, an unbalanced force of a hockey stick will make a puck move from rest.

Newton's first law example - puck
Similarly, according to Newton’s first law, a moving puck will maintain its direction and speed unless acted upon by an external force

Even after a stationary puck comes in motion, it will not stop on its own unless something (for example, some other player’s hockey stick) stops it. Newton’s first law tells the same thing, a moving object will not stop on its own unless an unbalanced force stops it.

Bicycle

Newton's first law example - bicycle
A stationary bicycle remains at rest until a force, such as pedaling, is applied to it, demonstrating Newton’s first law

A stationary bicycle parked in the garden will not move on its own unless someone rides it. An unbalanced force applied on a bicycle pedal with the leg will make a stationary bicycle move from rest. And this is Newton’s first law (objects don’t change their position on their own unless an unbalanced force acts on them).

Newton's first law example - bicycle
Similarly, Newton’s first law is demonstrated by a moving bicycle that will continue its motion unless the brakes are applied to halt it

Newton’s first law says that if no external force acts on an object, then an object will continue to remain in motion forever. Here, a moving bicycle will not stop on its own unless an unbalanced force (for example, brakes) stops it. This thing shows the presence of the first law.

Billiard ball

Newton's first law example - billiard ball
A stationary billiard ball conforms to Newton’s first law – it remains at rest until someone applies a force by hitting it

You might have seen a billiard ball resting on the pool table. Have you ever wondered why the ball does not move on its own? That’s because of Newton’s first law. A billiard ball will not move on its own unless someone hits it with the stick.

Newton's first law example - billiard ball
Similarly, according to Newton’s first law, a moving billiard ball will continue its motion unless acted upon by an external force that brings it to a stop

A billiard ball will come in motion when you hit it with the stick. And as per Newton’s first law, this billiard ball will not stop on its own unless an unbalanced force acts on it (for example, when it hits another billiard ball or on the table’s edge).

Bowling ball

Newton's first law example - bowling ball
Newton’s first law applies to a stationary bowling ball – it will not move unless someone imparts a force by throwing it

Newton’s first law says that objects don’t change their position on their own unless an unbalanced force acts on them. Here also, the same thing happens. A stationary bowling ball will not move towards the pin on its own unless an unbalanced force makes it move (for example, when someone throws it with the hand).

Newton's first law example - bowling ball
Similarly, a moving bowling ball will not come to a stop unless acted upon by an external force that halts its motion

According to the first law, a moving object will continue to move forever unless an unbalanced force stops it. Here, a moving bowling ball thrown towards the pin stops when it strikes with the bowling pin (i.e., the strike of a bowling ball with the bowling pin acts as an unbalanced force).

Tomato ketchup

Newton's first law example - tomato ketchup
According to Newton’s first law, stuck tomato ketchup remains immobile until the bottle is hit, causing it to come out

You might have seen that sometimes, tomato ketchup gets stuck inside a ketchup bottle, and it does come out on its own (unless gravity pulls it downwards or it comes out when you hit a ketchup bottle from the backside with your hand). This thing clearly shows the presence of the first law.

Scooter

Newton's first law example - scooter
According to Newton’s first law, a stationary scooter remains at rest until someone starts it

As per Newton’s first law, objects don’t change their position on their own unless an unbalanced force acts on them. A stationary scooter parked on the road will not move on its own unless someone starts and rides it. When someone starts a scooter with a key, an unbalanced force (applied by the engine) acts on a scooter, and due to this, a stationary scooter will move from rest.

Newton's first law example - scooter
Similarly, a moving scooter, as governed by Newton’s first law, will not come to a stop unless an external force halts its motion

While driving a scooter, you may have experienced that if you don’t apply the brakes to a moving scooter, then your scooter will continue to remain in motion. However, the force of friction (which acts as an unbalanced force) eventually slows down a moving scooter.

Astronaut

Newton's first law example - astronaut
Newton’s first law applies to an astronaut floating in outer space – they will continue moving unless acted upon by an external force to bring them to a stop

Newton’s first law says that objects don’t stop on their own unless an unbalanced force stops them. The same thing happens with astronauts in outer space. In space, astronauts continue to float forever since there is a lack of gravity. Therefore, unless they get hit by another object, they do not get stopped on their own.

Asteroid

Newton's first law example - asteroid
In accordance with Newton’s first law, an asteroid floating in outer space will continue its motion unless an external force acts upon it to bring it to a halt

When an asteroid is floating in outer space, it is in motion. And, as per Newton’s first law, this asteroid will continue to remain in motion forever if no unbalanced force acts on it. (i.e., unless an asteroid gets hit by another celestial body or enters the other planet’s gravitational field, it will continue to move in outer space forever)

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