Balanced vs Unbalanced Forces
Forces have a magnitude (strength) and a direction. Forces can be represented as arrows with the length of the arrow representing the magnitude of the force and the head of the arrow pointing in the direction of the force. Using such arrows, the resulting force (net force) and direction can be determined. Forces acting on an object can be balanced or unbalanced. Interactive Science Notebook Entry: Balanced vs Unbalanced
Balanced forces will cause no change in the speed of an object.
Unbalanced forces are not equal, and they always cause the motion of an object to change the speed and/or direction that it is moving.
- Or, if in a tug of war, one team pulls harder than the other, the resulting action (net force) will be that the rope will change its motion in the direction of the force with the greater strength/magnitude as shown below:
If unbalanced forces are exerted in the same direction, the resulting force (net force) will be the sum of the forces in the direction the forces are applied.
- For example, if two people pull on an object at the same time in the same direction, the applied force on the object will be the result of their combined forces (net force or longer arrow to the right of the =) as shown below:
- When forces act in the same direction, their forces are added. When forces act in opposite directions, their forces are subtracted from each other.
- Unbalanced forces also cause a nonmoving object to change its motion
- If there is no net force acting on the object, the motion does not change. If there is net force acting on an object, the speed of the object will change in the direction of the net force.
Check out other resources to gain a greater understanding of Balance vs Unbalanced Forces: Utah State 8th Grade Science Integrated Core Curriculum
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