Newton’s second law examples

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Newton’s second law of motion states that the acceleration of an object is directly proportional to the net force applied to it and inversely proportional to its mass. In simpler terms, when a force is applied to an object, it will accelerate in the direction of the force. The greater the force applied, the greater the acceleration, while a larger mass will result in a smaller acceleration for the same force. This law mathematically relates the concepts of force, mass, and acceleration, providing a fundamental understanding of how objects respond to external forces.

Examples

Trolley

Newton's second law example - trolley
According to Newton’s second law, it is easier to push an empty trolley than a loaded one, as acceleration is inversely proportional to mass | Image: Stock photo, unknown source[●]

When pushing a trolley, Newton’s second law comes into play. According to this law, the acceleration of an object is inversely proportional to its mass. This means that when the same force is applied to both an empty trolley and a loaded trolley, the trolley with less mass will experience greater acceleration. The lighter trolley has less resistance to overcome due to its lower mass. As a result, the empty trolley will move forward at a faster rate compared to the loaded trolley, which has a greater mass and requires more force to achieve the same acceleration.

Box

Newton's second law example - box
Newton’s second law states that lifting a small box is easier than lifting a heavy one, as acceleration is inversely proportional to mass | Image: Stock photo, unknown source[●]

When lifting objects, Newton’s second law applies to understand the relationship between mass, force, and acceleration. According to this law, the acceleration of an object is inversely proportional to its mass. Let’s consider a scenario where two persons are lifting courier boxes of different masses. If each person exerts the same amount of force to lift their respective box, the person handling the smaller box will experience greater acceleration, while the person handling the larger box will experience less acceleration. This is because Newton’s second law states that the acceleration of an object is inversely dependent on its mass. As a result, the person with the smaller courier box, which has less mass to overcome, will accelerate more compared to the person handling the larger box, which has a greater mass and requires more force to achieve the same acceleration.

Bicycle ride

Newton's second law example - bicycle ride
Newton’s second law explains that riding a single-seat bicycle is easier than riding a double-seat bicycle, as acceleration is inversely proportional to mass | Image: Stock photo, unknown source[●]

Newton’s second law can be observed and understood while riding bicycles, such as comparing single-seat and two-seat bicycles. This law states that the acceleration of an object is directly proportional to the net force acting on it and inversely proportional to its mass. When applying this law to bicycles, it means that the acceleration of a bicycle is determined by the net force exerted on it and its mass. In the case of single-seat bicycles, the lower mass allows for a greater acceleration with the same applied force, making them easier to ride. On the other hand, two-seat bicycles, with their higher mass, require a greater force to achieve the same acceleration, making them more challenging to ride.

Tennis ball

Newton's second law example - tennis ball
In accordance with Newton’s second law, it is easier to hit a tennis ball with a bat than a football, as acceleration is inversely proportional to mass | Image: Stock photo, unknown source[●]

When comparing the impact of a bat hitting a tennis ball and a football, Newton’s second law comes into play. This law states that the acceleration of an object is directly proportional to the net force acting on it and inversely proportional to its mass. Therefore, when the bat strikes both the tennis ball and the football, the resulting acceleration will depend on the net force applied and the mass of each object. Due to its lower mass, the tennis ball will experience greater acceleration for the same applied force compared to the football, which has a higher mass. This showcases how the mass of an object influences its acceleration as per Newton’s second law, where a smaller mass allows for a greater acceleration with the same force.

Wagon

Newton's second law example - wagon
If a heavy wagon is pulled by a group of people instead of a single person, according to Newton’s second law, the combined force exerted by the group leads to a greater acceleration since acceleration is directly proportional to the total applied force | Image: Stock photo, unknown source[●]

Newton’s second law becomes evident when pushing a wagon. This law states that the acceleration of an object is directly proportional to the net force applied to it and inversely proportional to its mass. When a single person pushes the wagon, the greater mass results in slower acceleration due to the lower net force. However, when a group of people push together, the combined net force increases, resulting in greater acceleration and making it easier to move the wagon.

Horse-drawn vehicle

Newton's second law example - horse-drawn vehicle
According to Newton’s second law, when a team of horses pulls a horse-drawn vehicle instead of a single horse, it becomes easier due to the increased applied force, as acceleration is directly proportional to the force applied | Image: Stock photo, unknown source[●]

Newton’s second law is demonstrated when a horse attempts to pull a horse-drawn vehicle. The law states that the acceleration of an object is directly related to the net force applied to it and inversely related to its mass. When a single horse pulls the vehicle, the lower net force, combined with the greater mass of the vehicle, results in slower acceleration. However, when multiple horses (such as a team of horses) pull the vehicle together, the combined net force increases, overcoming the greater mass and leading to greater acceleration. This demonstrates how Newton’s second law highlights the relationship between net force, mass, and acceleration in the context of pulling a horse-drawn vehicle.

Wardrobe

Newton's second law example - wardrobe
If a wardrobe is lifted with a group of people instead of a single person, according to Newton’s second law, it becomes easier due to the increased applied force, as acceleration is directly proportional to the force applied | Image: Stock photo, unknown source[●]

When it comes to accelerating a wardrobe on the floor, Newton’s second law becomes evident as it demonstrates that the task is easier for a group of individuals working together compared to a single person. This is because the acceleration of an object directly depends on the net force applied to it. When a single person attempts to accelerate the wardrobe, the net force acting on it is relatively low, resulting in slower acceleration. However, when multiple individuals join forces to accelerate the wardrobe, the combined net force increases significantly, leading to greater acceleration and making the task easier to accomplish.

Car

Newton's second law example - car
According to Newton’s second law, pushing a car is more manageable with a group of people than with a single person, as acceleration is directly proportional to the applied force | Image: Stock photo, unknown source[●]

Newton’s second law becomes evident when attempting to free a stuck car from the sand. This law states that the acceleration of an object is directly proportional to the net force applied to it and inversely proportional to its mass. When a single person pushes the car alone from the back, the lower net force results in slower acceleration due to the car’s greater mass. However, when multiple individuals join in to push the car, the combined net force increases, resulting in greater acceleration despite the car’s mass. This exemplifies how Newton’s second law establishes a relationship between the net force applied to an object, its mass, and the resulting acceleration, highlighting the need for additional force to overcome the car’s mass and facilitate its forward motion.

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  • The stock photos used in this post are sourced from platforms like Pexels, Pixabay, Canva, etc. Due to the age of the images, their specific origins remain unknown.

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Deep

Learnool.com was founded by Deep Rana, who is a mechanical engineer by profession and a blogger by passion. He has a good conceptual knowledge on different educational topics and he provides the same on this website. He loves to learn something new everyday and believes that the best utilization of free time is developing a new skill.

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