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Calculating Forces
Next Generation: MS.PS2.2

Calculating Forces

Author: Nathan Lampson

This lesson will explain how to calculate net forces on an object being pushed or pulled.

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Net force is the combinations of all forces acting on an object.  When forces act in the same direction, net force can be calculated by adding the forces together.  When forces act in opposite directions, the net force is in the direction of the greater force. The amount of force is found by combining opposing forces with subtraction. The strength of a force is measured in Newtons (N).



Bob and George are having a contest and are trying to push a crate in opposing directions.  George's force (known as F1) is 8 Newtons, while Bob's force in the opposite direction is 12 Newtons.  In order to find the net force, George's lesser force is subtracted from Bob's greater force.


Forces in opposing directions can be calculated by finding the difference of the forces.  The net force is in the direction of the greater force.


12 Newtons (The force of Bob's push) - 8 Newtons (The force of George's push) = 4 Newtons (Net force)


A net force of 4 newtons is produced in the direction of Bob's force.

Calculating Forces