Force and Pressure

Types of Forces

You’re in your room, sitting and reading this. At this very moment, are you actually applying any force? If so, then what type of force are you applying? Now, take a bottle and push it across the table. Did you just apply force? What type of force did you apply? Pushing the bottle across the table comes under ‘Applied Forces’. Let us study more in-depth about the types of forces.

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Types of Forces

Forces can be divided into primarily into two types of forces:

  • Contact Forces
  • Non-contact Forces

Contact Forces

Any types of forces that require being in contact with another object come under ‘Contact Force’. All mechanical forces are contact forces. Contact forces further divide into following types of forces:

Muscular Forces

Muscles functions to produce a resulting force which is known as ‘muscular force’. Muscular force exists only when it is in contact with an object. We apply muscular force during the basic day to day work of our life such as breathing, digestion, lifting a bucket, pulling or pushing some object. Muscular force comes in handy to simply our work.

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Types of forces

Frictional Forces

When an object changes its state motion, ‘frictional force‘ acts upon. It can be defined as the resisting force that exists when an object is moved or tries to move a surface. The frictional force acts as a point of contact between two surfaces that is it arises due to contact between two surfaces. Examples lighting a matchstick or stopping a moving ball come under frictional force.

Normal Force

When a book is lying on the table, even though it seems that it’s stationary, it’s not. An opposing force is still acting on the book wherein the force from gravity is pulling is towards the earth. This force is the ‘normal force’.

Applied Force

When you push a table across the room, you apply a force that acts when it comes in contact with another object. This is ‘applied force’; i.e. a force that is applied to a person or object.

Tension Force

Tension is the force applied by a fully stretched cable or wire anchored on to an object. This causes a ‘tension force that pulls equally in both directions and exerts equal pressure.

Spring Force

Force exerted by a compressed or stretched spring is ‘spring force’. The force created could be a push or pull depending on how the spring is attached.

Air Resisting Force

Air resisting forces are types of forces wherein objects experience a frictional force when moving through the air. These forces are resistive in nature.

Non-Contact Forces

The types of forces that can be exerted without requiring any contact with any object are ‘non-contact forces’. They further divide into following types of forces:

Gravitational Force

Gravitational force is an attractive force that can be defined by Newton’s law of gravity which states that ‘gravitational forces between two bodies are directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them’. It is a force exerted by large bodies such as planets and stars.

Example: water droplets falling down

Mathematically, Fgm1m2 or Fg1/r2

Magnetic Force

The types of forces exerted by a magnet on magnetic objects are ‘magnetic forces’. They exist without any contact between two objects.

Electrostatic Force

The types of forces exerted by all electrically charged bodies on another charged bodies in the universe are ‘electrostatic forces’. These forces can be both attractive and repulsive in nature based on the charge of the bodies.

Learn about Force and Its Effects

Solved Example For You

Q. Which of the following is the evidence to show that there must be a force acting on earth and directed towards Sun?

a. The apparent motion of the sun around the earth

b. The phenomenon of day and night

c. Revolution of earth around the Sun

d. Deviation of the falling body towards earth

Sol: c. Revolution of earth around the Sun

Earth revolves around the sun. This fact forces us to think of a force that provides necessary centripetal acceleration to drive the revolutionary movement. This necessary force is provided by the force of attraction (gravitational) between earth and sun.

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