Let’s Get Physics-l: Newton’s Third Law

It felt like mere weeks ago we had just started this adventure and here we are, at it’s conclusion. Last but not least, perhaps the most famous law of them all, Newton’s Third. Let’s not waste time and get down to it.

Newton’s third law states that:

If Object A exerts a force on Object B, then object B will exert an equal and opposite force on object A.

In order for something to be deemed compatible with Newton’s third law (And to avoid confusion with the first) it must meet two requirements: The forces involved must be the same type and they must be acting in opposite directions on different objects. What’s that? You want a superhero example to just about demonstrate this law? Well I’m more than happy to oblige.

Throwing back to my example in the Momentum, Wolverine and Hulk have decided to make up and decide to use the famed high five to signify the end of their debacle. Hulk’s hand approaches Wolverine’s from the left whilst Wolverine’s hand approaches from the right (Opposite directions: Check!). They make contact and the force exerted by Hulk’s hand on Wolverine’s hand is equal and opposite to the force exerted by Wolverine’s hand on Hulk’s. Friendship goals, am I right? (No? Well… Okay then…)

A second example! What?! That’s crazy! After making up, Hulk and Wolverine decide to go asteroid jumping (A rather fun activity, I’ve heard). If we ignore Wolverine for a moment (Sorry Bub!) and focus on the Hulk. In order to launch himself off one asteroid to another one nearby, the Hulk exerts a force on the asteroid. The asteroid then exerts a force on the Hulk in the opposite direction which sends him towards the other asteroid and pushes the original asteroid in the opposite direction a little bit. (Please don’t try Asteroid jumping at home, it’s both a bit of a challenge and rather dangerous (So I’ve heard…))

As shown, in order for Newton’s third law to apply the objects in question must exert a force in the opposite direction to each other and the force exerted must be the same type.


Summary

  • Newton’s Third Law: If Object A exerts a force on Object B, then object B will exert an equal and opposite force on object A so long as:
    • The forces involved are the same type.
    • The forces involved are acting in opposite directions on different objects.

That concludes Newton’s Laws of Motion, a natural reason as to why I had to include two superhero examples (I still stand by my belief that they just make these far more enjoyable for everyone (Though mostly me, not going to lie)). As always, please comment below with any thoughts, questions, feedback or requests. Thank you.

 

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