FORCES CONTACT FORCES FIELD FORCES: Gravity Electricity Magnetism Electromagnetism

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Text of FORCES CONTACT FORCES FIELD FORCES: Gravity Electricity Magnetism Electromagnetism

  • FORCESCONTACT FORCESFIELD FORCES:GravityElectricityMagnetism Electromagnetism

  • FORCESAn object experiences a force when it is pushed or pulled by another object. For example, shoving a stationary shopping cart applies a force that causes the shopping cart to accelerate. This is a contact force. An object can also experience a force because of the influence of a field. For example, a dropped ball accelerates toward the ground because of the presence of the gravitational field; electrical charges attract or repel each other because of the presence of an electric field.

  • Contact ForcesField ForcesGravitational forceElectric forceMagnetic Force FORCES


  • Because the moon has significantly less mass than the earth, the weight of an object on its surface is only one-sixth the objects weight on the earths surface.This graph shows how the weight of an object with weight w on earth varies with respect to its position between the earth and moon. Since the earth and moon pull in opposite directions, there is a point, 346,000 km (215,000 mi) from the earth, where the opposite gravitational forces cancel, and the weight is zero.


  • Electric lines of force indicate the direction in which a positive test charge would move if it were placed in an electric field.The diagram on the left shows lines of force for two positive charges that repel each other. A positive test charge would be pushed away from both charges. The diagram on the right shows lines of force for two unlike charges that attract each other. A positive test charge would be pushed away from the positive charge and toward the negative charge.

  • ELECTRICAL FORCESTwo rods that carry the same kind of charge repel each other. To observe this, obtain two rods that are made of the same kind of material (glass stirring rods, for example). Rub both rods in the same way (with a piece of silk, for example). If they are made of the same material and have been rubbed in the same way, the rods should carry the same kind of charge. Hang one rod from a thread so that it is free to rotate. Bring the other rod near. The first rod should rotate away from the second, demonstrating that like charges repel. If the rods had different kinds of charges, the first rod would rotate toward the second, demonstrating that unlike charges attract.

  • Electrical Charges on Different Objects

  • Three objects demonstrate the way in which electrical charges affect conductors and nonconductors. A negatively charged rod, A, affects the way charges are distributed in a nearby conductor, B, and a nonconductor, C. A positive charge is induced on the sides of B and C that are nearest A; a negative charge is induced on the sides of B and C that are farthest from A.In the conductor, B, the separation of charge involves the entire object because the electrons are free to move. In the nonconductor, C, the separation of charge is limited to the way in which the electrons redistribute themselves within an atom.This effect is most noticeable if the nonconductor is close to the charged object.

  • ELECTRICAL FORCESElectrical Forces are proportional to the product of the charges, and inversely proportional (reduced), by the square of the distance between charges.

  • CHARGESAn electroscope is used to detect the presence of electric charges, to determine whether these charges are positive or negative, and to measure and indicate their intensity. This schematic drawing shows the basic parts of the device:(a, a-) are thin leaves of metal foil, suspended from (b), a metal support; (c) is a glass container, while (d) is a knob that collects electric charges. Electric charges (either positive or negative) are conducted to the leaves at the bottom via the metal support. Because like charges repel one another, the leaves fly apart. The amount of the charge is calculated by measuring the distance the leaves are forced apart.

  • ELECTRICAL CHARGES MAKE FIELDSIn A, like charges produce field lines that repel and veer away from each other. In B, unlike charges are attracted, and field lines move towards each other.

  • MOVING CHARGES IN AN ELECTRIC FIELDA simple electric field occurs in the space between two oppositely charged flat plates. The field lines are equally spaced between the plates, showing that the electric field strength is the same everywhere. Such a field is called a uniform electric field. An electron placed in such a field at any spot in the field will accelerate at a constant rate toward the positive plate because the electrical force on it is constant. (It should be noted that the electron, which is negatively charged, moves in a direction opposite to that of the field lines.) If an electron enters a uniform field parallel to the plates, it will veer toward the positive plate. The stronger the field is, the more the deflection. Fields such as these are used to control the scan of the electron beam in televisions and computer screens.

  • MAGNETIC FORCESHans Christian Oersted predicted in 1813 that a connection would be found between electricity and magnetism. In 1819 he placed a compass near a current-carrying wire and observed that the compass needle was deflected.This discovery demonstrated that electric currents produce magnetic fields. As shown here, the magnetic field lines circle around the current-carrying wire.

  • MAGNETIC FIELDSA solenoid makes a magnetic field by an electric current flowing through wire. In a bar magnet, ferromagnetism produces an identical field. On a larger scale, the earth, through geomagnetism produces a similar field.

  • MAGNETISM and ELECTROMAGNETISM All magnetism arises from moving electric charge. If a current flows in a helical coil, called a solenoid, the magnetic field will be directed through the solenoid and out one end. The field curves around and reenters the other end of the solenoid.This is similar to the shape of the magnetic field around a bar magnet with a south and north pole and led the French physicist Andre-Marie Ampere to speculate in the early 1820s that the magnetic field of a bar magnet is produced by circulating currents in the magnet.Today it is believed that those circulating currents are caused by the motions of electrons, particularly by their spin within individual atoms. The tiny magnetic fields of the individual atoms align themselves into domains in which the magnetic effects add together.

  • MAGNETIC FIELDS and CURRENTSThe movement of a compass needle, near a conductor through which a current is flowing, indicates the presence of a magnetic field around the conductor.When currents flow through two parallel conductors, the magnetic fields of the conductors attract each other when the current flow is in the same direction in both conductors, and repel each other when the flows are in opposite directions. The magnetic field caused by the current in a single loop or wire is such that if the loop is suspended near the earth, it will behave like a magnet or compass needle and swing until the wire of the loop is perpendicular to a line running from the north and south magnetic poles of the earth.

  • ELECTROMAGNETISMThe red bar represents a current carrying wire (electrons are flowing through it).The blue lines represent the magnetic field produced by electrical currents (moving electrons). The circles represent compasses, which show the direction of the field.

  • ELECTRICAL CHARGES in a MAGNETIC FIELDIf an electrical charge moves parallel to the lines of a magnetic field, it will travel in straight lines.If the charge crosses any of the magnetic field lines, it will curve and deflect.

  • PREDICTING HOW A CHARGE WILL MOVE IN A MAGNETIC FIELDPut the thumb of your right hand in the direction a positive charge is moving.Point the fingers of your right hand in the direction of magnetic field lines.Curl your fingers. The charge will go in the direction your fingers now point.For a negative charge in the same field, repeat the process using your left hand.

  • SO WHY DOES IT MATTER?In television picture tubes, magnetic fields are used to steer the electrons from the cathode. As the magnetic field strength is varied, the electrons are deflected so that they scan across the screen. In a loudspeaker, the current from the amplifier is fed to a coil of wire attached to the speaker cone. The coil is arranged so that it is in line with a permanent magnet. As current in the coil is varied, the moving charges are deflected by the field of the permanent magnet. As the coil moves, the cone of the speaker vibrates, causing sound waves to be produced. The magnetic field of the Earth deflects and traps charged particles that travel from the sun and other stars toward the Earth. These trapped charged particles have formed two doughnut-shaped regions known as the Van Allen radiation belts. Some particles not trapped by the Earth's magnetic field are steered by that field into the atmosphere near the poles. It is believed that the aurora borealis is produced as these deflected charges crash into molecules of gas in the Earth's atmosphere.


  • The electric motor demonstrates a common application of the interaction between moving charge and a magnetic field. In a motor, electrical energy is converted into energy of motion. A simple motor can be represented as a loop of wire attached to a source of direct current (DC). The loop is pivoted to rotate in a magnetic field. As electric charge moves along the loop, deflecting forces begin to cause the loop to rotate. To keep the loop rotating, the direction of current in the loop must be rev