Newton’s 2nd Law: How to Apply it to the Real World

newtons 2nd lawOne of Newton’s greatest accomplishments was coming up with the three laws of motion that are commonly known about in science today.  These three laws are not just a staple in physics, but an integral part of math, science, and various forms of engineering as well.

Many people, when learning about Newton’s laws, are unable to see how it can be applied to real life. While the laws of physics have been proven time and time again by countless experiments, these aren’t the only laws explored in science and life. The Udemy course, How Learning the 12 Universal Laws explores other types of laws that impact our lives.

Understanding Newton’s Second Law

The second law of motion is based on the amount of energy needed to move an object. The law states that whenever a force acts on a particular object, the object will accelerate based on the direction of the force. The law goes on to state that as long as the mass of an object is constant, increasing the force exerted onto it will also increase its acceleration. On the other hand, if the force remains constant, then the increase of the mass of the object will cause acceleration to decrease.

This can be broken down into two statements. The first is that the force and acceleration of an object has a direct proportion, and the mass and acceleration of an object has an inverse proportion.

The Math Behind Newton’s Second Law  

The simplest way that Newton’s second law is represented is through the mathematical equation:

F = MA

This is also translated to force equals mass times acceleration. As the law was explained above, if you multiply the mass times the acceleration of an object you get the force that object is exerting. On the other hand, you can change this problem around to find the mass or the acceleration of the object.

For example, you can change the equation to A = F/M or M = F/A, which translates into acceleration equals force divided by mass or mass equals force divided by acceleration. The three factors all connected based on Newton’s law.

Applying Newton’s Second Law with Math Examples

An example of this being applied in real life would be a person who was trying to push their car after it ran out of gas. You would have to find the force that would be needed to push the car to the nearest gas station.

Say that you were only moving your car about 0.05 meters per second, and the car weighed a total of 1,000 kilograms. You would be able to plug these two numbers into the equation to see how much force you were exerting on the car.

F = 1000 x 0.05 and you get 50, or F = 50. When you apply Newton’s law and performing math equations, you always write your results in newtons, which mean that the correct answer for this equation would be 100 newtons. 

Let’s look at another situation where a horse is pulling a carriage. Instead of figuring out that is being exerted, you will figure out the acceleration that the horse and the carriage currently have. To do this, you will change the equation to the one shown before, A = F/M or acceleration equals force divided by mass. Plug in the numbers 200 newtons for force and 100 kilograms for mass. Now all you have to do is a little bit of simply division.

A = 200/100 or the acceleration of the horse moving the carriage is 2 m/s2, which can also be translated to 2 meters per second squared.

As you can clearly see through the equation, making any one change to force, acceleration, or mass can greatly change the equation. Imagine adding another horse to the carriage and that horse exerted the same amount of force.

This means the force would be 400 instead of 200, which would double the acceleration of the carriage to 4 meters per second squared. Now imagine quadrupling or increasing the number of horses exponentially. Newton’s second law examples the importance of force, acceleration, and mass can be calculated in a way that people can accurately examine how they all have an effect on one another.

Despite the fact Newton’s second law doesn’t require complex mathematics; the numbers can easily get difficult to calculate. Imagine trying to find out how much force hundreds of people exert on an object or the acceleration of an object that breaks the sound barrier. People in high paying engineer jobs have to do equations like this on a constant basis.

If you want to increase your mathematic abilities to have a better understanding of the way Newton’s second law works, then you should check out the two Udemy courses Easy Advanced Math Skills with Formulas and Secrets of Mental Math, which are dedicated to increasing the speed at which you do math. 

Real Life Examples of Newton’s Second Law

You can find examples of Newton’s Second Law throughout your life. For example, you may realize, when looking for a car that the miles per gallon of a sports utility vehicle is always lower than that of a standard car.

The reason behind this is explained in Newton’s Second Law. The mass of a sports utility vehicle is much greater than that of a car, which means that it requires more force to accelerate it at the same amount. If you were driving a car 65 mph on a freeway for 40 miles, you will undoubtedly use much less gasoline than if you were to drive at the same speed for the same distance in a SUV.

The same thing can be applied to any moving object. Say you have a friend who is several pounds smaller than you, but they walk exerting the same amount of force as you. Your friend will go a good deal faster than you because their acceleration would undoubtedly be higher.

One of the main reasons why people constantly try to reduce the mass of objects is to be able to increase its speed and acceleration. As mentioned before, all of the factors have an effect on each other. If something has much more mass, then exerting more force will make it move faster. It’s the reason why a small child won’t be able to throw a football the same distance as a professional, since the child would be unable to exert the same amount of force that the football player would.

Understanding Newton’s second law is a great way to get you any person into science. One thing that Newton’s second law teaches you about is the importance of dependent variables. In science and math, there is a very large difference between independent and dependent variables, and understanding that difference will allow you to do even more complex calculations.

Delving Deeper into Physics

Newton’s second law of motion is one of the fundamentals of physics. It can help you take your understanding of physics and the way the world around you works to levels you may not even have knew existed. One way to see how Newton’s laws works is by studying quantum physics. There is an Udemy course, Quantum Physics: An Overview of a Weird World, which focuses on teaching quantum physics to anyone, even if you are just a beginner.