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Unit: Forces and Newton's laws of motion

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This tutorial will expose you to the foundation of classical mechanics--Newton's laws. On one level they are intuitive, on another lever they are completely counter-intuitive. Challenge your take on reality and watch this tutorial. The world will look very different after you're done.
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A dog is balancing on one arm on my head. Is my head applying a force to the dog's hand? If it weren't, wouldn't there be nothing to offset the pull of gravity causing the acrobatic dog to fall? What would we call this force? Can we have a general term for the component of a contact force that acts perpendicular to the plane of contact? These are absolutely normal questions to ask.
You will often hear physics professors be careful to say "net force" or "unbalanced force" rather than just "force". Why? This tutorial explains why and might give you more intuition about Newton's laws in the process.
This short tutorial will have you dealing with orbiting frozen socks in order to understand whether you understand Newton's Laws. We also quiz you a bit during the videos just to make sure that you aren't daydreaming about what you would do with a frozen sock.
We've all slid down slides/snow-or-mud-covered-hills/railings at some point in our life (if not, you haven't really lived) and noticed that the smoother the surface the more we would accelerate (try to slide down a non-snow-or-mud-covered hill). This tutorial looks into this in some depth. We'll look at masses on inclined planes and think about static and kinetic friction.
Bad commute? Baby crying? Bills to pay? Looking to take a bath with some Calgon (do a search on YouTube for context) to ease your tension? This tutorial has nothing (actually little, not nothing) to do with that. So far, most of the forces we've been dealing with are forces of "pushing"--contact forces at the macro level because of atoms not wanting to get to close at the micro level. Now we'll deal with "pulling" force or tension (at a micro level this is the force of attraction between bonded atoms).
When two or more objects must move with the same magnitude of acceleration (like masses on strings, or boxes pushed into each other), we can treat the entire system as a single object when finding the acceleration.
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About this unit

This unit is part of the Physics library. Browse videos, articles, and exercises by topic.