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# What is the definition of internal force?

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By definition, internal force is whatever causes an object with mass to accelerate or move. This force is equal to the product of the mass of the object plus its rate of acceleration.

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Credit: PSParrot CC-BY-2.0

The first studies of force date back to the third century B.C. and the philosopher Archimedes. Some of his ideas are still found in modern mechanics and physics today. Years later, Aristotle's original findings about force were corrected by the discoveries of Isaac Newton. Isaac Newton's findings depict four fundamental kinds of force: strong, electromagnetic, weak and gravitational. His descriptions have remained largely unchallenged to this day.

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## Related Questions

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Tension force is a force that is exerted equally on both ends of a cable, chain, rope, wire or other continuous object and is transmitted between the ends by that object. On a microscopic level, objects under tension have a separation between molecules that creates potential energy in their bonds.

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For an object with unchanging mass, force equals mass times acceleration. This is abbreviated as f = ma. Force is a push/pull on an object resulting from interactions with another object. Having a magnitude and a direction makes force a vector quantity.

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A mechanical force involves contact with another object. Mechanical forces are distinguished from the four natural forces of electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force and gravity. While each of the four natural forces do not require a physical connection, mechanical forces must travel through a medium.