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4: Dynamics- Force and Newton's Laws of Motion

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    • 4.1: Prelude to Dynamics- Newton’s Laws of Motion
    • 4.2: Development of Force Concept
    • 4.3: Newton’s First Law of Motion- Inertia
      Experience suggests that an object at rest will remain at rest if left alone, and that an object in motion tends to slow down and stop unless some effort is made to keep it moving.
    • 4.4: Newton’s Second Law of Motion- Concept of a System
    • 4.5: Newton’s Third Law of Motion- Symmetry in Forces
      There is a passage in the musical Man of la Mancha that relates to Newton’s third law of motion. Sancho, in describing a fight with his wife to Don Quixote, says, “Of course I hit her back, Your Grace, but she’s a lot harder than me and you know what they say, ‘Whether the stone hits the pitcher or the pitcher hits the stone, it’s going to be bad for the pitcher.’” This is exactly what happens whenever one body exerts a force on another—the first also experiences a force (equal in magnitude and
    • 4.6: Normal, Tension, and Other Examples of Forces
      Forces are given many names, such as push, pull, thrust, lift, weight, friction, and tension. Traditionally, forces have been grouped into several categories and given names relating to their source, how they are transmitted, or their effects. The most important of these categories are discussed in this section, together with some interesting applications. Further examples of forces are discussed later in this text.
    • 4.7: Friction
      Friction is a force that is around us all the time that opposes relative motion between systems in contact but also allows us to move (which you have discovered if you have ever tried to walk on ice). While a common force, the behavior of friction is actually very complicated and is still not completely understood. We have to rely heavily on observations for whatever understandings we can gain.
    • 4.8: Drag Forces
      You feel the drag force when you move your hand through water. You might also feel it if you move your hand during a strong wind. The faster you move your hand, the harder it is to move. You feel a smaller drag force when you tilt your hand so only the side goes through the air—you have decreased the area of your hand that faces the direction of motion. Like friction, the drag force always opposes the motion of an object.
    • 4.9: Problem-Solving Strategies
      Success in problem solving is obviously necessary to understand and apply physical principles, not to mention the more immediate need of passing exams. The basics of problem solving, presented earlier in this text, are followed here, but specific strategies useful in applying Newton’s laws of motion are emphasized. These techniques also reinforce concepts that are useful in many other areas of physics. Many problem-solving strategies are stated outright in the worked examples.
    • 4.10: Further Applications of Newton’s Laws of Motion
      There are many interesting applications of Newton’s laws of motion, a few more of which are presented in this section. These serve also to illustrate some further subtleties of physics and to help build problem-solving skills.
    • 4.11: Extended Topic- The Four Basic Forces—An Introduction
    • 4.E: Dynamics- Force and Newton's Laws of Motion (Exercises)

    Contributors and Attributions

    • Paul Peter Urone (Professor Emeritus at California State University, Sacramento) and Roger Hinrichs (State University of New York, College at Oswego) with Contributing Authors: Kim Dirks (University of Auckland) and Manjula Sharma (University of Sydney). This work is licensed by OpenStax University Physics under a Creative Commons Attribution License (by 4.0).


    4: Dynamics- Force and Newton's Laws of Motion is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by OpenStax.

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