
Newton’s 2nd law of motion
Newton’s 2nd law of motion states that, the rate of change of momentum of a body is directly proportional to the external force applied on it.
Mathematically, it can be expressed as:
F = ma
where: F represents the net force acting on the object, m is the mass of the object, and a is the acceleration produced by the net force.
To better understand this law, let’s consider an example:
Imagine a car with a mass of 1,200 kilograms (m) that is initially at rest. When the driver applies a constant force of 2,400 Newtons (F) to the car’s gas pedal, according to Newton’s second law, we can calculate the resulting acceleration (a).
Using the formula F = ma, we rearrange it to solve for acceleration:
a = F / m
a = 2,400 N / 1,200 kg
a = 2 m/s²
The calculated acceleration of 2 meters per second squared means that for every second the force is applied, the car’s velocity will increase by 2 meters per second.
Therefore, Newton’s second law of motion helps us understand the relationship between the force applied to an object, its mass, and the resulting acceleration. It highlights that the greater the force applied to an object or the smaller its mass, the greater the resulting acceleration will be.