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Introduction to Forces

A force is a push or a pull. For example, if you push a box along the floor, your hands exert a force on the box, which pushes it away from you. Similarly, if you pull a door open, your hands exert a force on the door which pulls it towards you.

There are many forces that we experience in everyday life. One force that is easy to observe is gravity. If you hold a pen in front of you and let go it will fall. This is because the force of gravity pulls it towards the ground.

An object is above the ground. There is an arrow pointing downwards to show the effect of gravity pulling the object down.

The force of gravity pulls objects towards the ground.

The electrostatic force is an important force in Chemistry

Forces are very important in Chemistry. In a later section, we will learn about a force called the electrostatic force which affects many things in Chemistry, including the structure of atoms, chemical bonding and chemical reactions.

Objects can attract or repel each other

In this course, we will come across many situations where two objects have forces pulling them towards each other. When this happens we say that the objects attract each other and we describe the forces as forces of attraction.

Two circles next to each other, representing two objects. Each object has an arrow on it pointing towards the other object.

These two objects are attracted towards each other. They are experiencing forces of attraction.

We will also come across many situations where two objects have forces pushing them away from each other. When this happens we say that the objects repel each other and we describe the forces as forces of repulsion.

Two objects next to each other. Each object has an arrow on it pointing away from the other object, to represent the force of repulsion.

These two objects are repelled by each other. They are experiencing forces of repulsion.

Flashcards

Flashcards help you memorise information quickly. Copy each question onto its own flashcard and then write the answer on the other side. Testing yourself on these regularly will enable you to learn much more quickly than just reading and making notes.

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What is a force?

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How do we describe the situation where two objects have forces pulling them towards each other?

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How do we describe the situation where two objects have forces pushing them away from each other?

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