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What is Newton's second law of motion?

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Quick Answer

Newton's second law of motion is Force = Mass x Acceleration. What this states is that the acceleration of an object is dependent upon two variables, which are the net force acting upon the object and the mass of the object.

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The Indianapolis Public Library provides an example of Newton's second law in action by comparing a marshmallow to a bowling ball. It takes more strength to push a bowling ball one foot than it does to push a marshmallow one foot, which demonstrates that the heavier the object, the more force it takes to make that object speed up or slow down.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is Newton's second law in terms of Atwood's machine?

    A:

    Newton’s second law states that the force acting on an object is directly related to the acceleration. The law is formulated as F = m x a, where F = force, a = acceleration and m = mass of the object in motion. In terms of Atwood’s machine, a force equal to the difference in the suspended weights accelerates the total mass, m1+ m2.

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  • Q:

    What is Isaac Newton famous for?

    A:

    Isaac Newton, a prominent mathematician and physicist, is famous for discovering several laws and theories of physics and motion that are collectively known as Newton's Laws. The laws that he is most famous for are the first, second and third laws of motion and the universal law of gravity.

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  • Q:

    What do students learn about Isaac Newton in school?

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    In their school science classes, students learn about Isaac Newton's laws of motion and his work on understanding gravity. Students in history classes may learn about Newton's philosophical writings, and in advanced math classes, they could cover Newton's contribution to calculus.

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  • Q:

    What is Newton's first law?

    A:

    Newton's first law states, "Every object persists in its state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed on it." A more colloquial way of saying it is "an object in motion stays in motion."

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