Newtons Laws of Motion Simplified As a Part of Classical Mechanics

M G SinghStarred Page By M G Singh, 19th Aug 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
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Newtons Laws of motion have universal applicability and understanding them is of paramount importance in today's world

Newton and Laws of Motion

Sir Isaac Newton is considered universally as one of the greatest physicists of all time in the history of science. His fame rests on his laws of motion that brought about a quantum change in theories of classical mechanics. Before we explain the laws of motion (they are 3 in number) it is important to understand three concepts that form part of these laws of motion.

Velocity , Acceleration and Force

) Velocity. We all understand the word speed. It is the rate at which a body say a car travels and is usually measured in miles per hour or kilometers per hour. But in classical mechanics the word speed is replaced with velocity and is given a direction as well. Thus representation of speed with direction is velocity. It is measured in feet per second or meters per second in a specified direction. Remember velocity must have direction and is represented by an arrow, showing the direction. It is represented by the letter v which is termed the initial velocity and u which represents the final velocity.

b) Acceleration. A body starts with an initial velocity which may be zero and then speeds to final velocity in a particular direction. This rate of change in velocity of a body from 0 to say 60 ft per second is referred to as acceleration. In case a body continues at a particular velocity, it is referred to as constant acceleration. Acceleration is represented by the letter a.It must be understood that any change in acceleration is dependent on a force that acts on the body.In a simple example a car which starts from rest and reaches a particular velocity is because of the external force, which in this case is supplied by the engine.
c) Force. For a body to move from a stated position say rest, some external power must act on it. This is referred to as force and is pressure exerted on a body that compels it to change its state of rest or motion. Force is directly related to mass, which in simple terms is the weight of a body.

The First Law of Motion

Having understood the basic concept of the three fundamental parameters of classical mechanics we can understand Newton’s Laws of Motion. The 3 Laws of motion in simple language are as follows.

a) The first law states that a body continues in its state of rest or motion unless acted upon by an external force. Thus a football will remain static at a point on the playing field unless acted upon by an external force which in this case is a kick by the player. The ball while in motion is again acted upon by external forces like air and gravity. Air retards the movement of the ball and ultimately brings it back to rest, while the force of gravity pulls the the ball down, till it again comes to rest.

The Second Law

The Second Law of motion is the heart of these laws and has given an equation that is as famous There as Einstein’s E=MC(square) This equation is F=M x A, where F is the force and M the mass and A the acceleration. This equation is derived from the second law which states that rate of change of momentum of a body is proportional to the applied force and takes place in the direction of the force.

Thus Newton put forward a revolutionary concept that stated that a force exerted is directly proportional to the mass of a body and its acceleration. Thus a large stone falling will generate a greater force than say a tennis ball as the masses of the bodies differ. The diagram above illustrates the effect of force on a body.

The Third Law

The third law of motion states that to each and every action there is a reaction. Thus when a rifle is fired , the bullet moves forward, but the gun exerts a force on the shooter in the form of the recoil. The law is also applicable to all actions in the universe. It has particular applicability in the field of rocketry. A rocket moving up exerts a force on the earth, which in turn also exerts a force on the rocket. The rocket can escape from this force only after overcoming the force exerted to it and is the escape velocity. Once that is achieved the rocket moves into space.

The Laws of motion as enunciated by Newton have a direct bearing on everyday life. He put forward these laws in his book Principia in 1687. Newton’s laws had a limitation as they are applicable in a particular frame and though fundamentally correct needed to be f


Action And Reaction, Isaac Newton, Laws Of Motion, Momentum, Speed, Velocity

Meet the author

author avatar M G Singh
A man who spent his early years in Air Force. An avid writer with over 6000 articles and 60 short stories published.Two novels on the anvil for publication.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
19th Aug 2013 (#)

wow Madan this is certainly eye popping information...thank you

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
19th Aug 2013 (#)

oh looking at the last illustration of Newton's Third Law...action and re-action...the same principle (I think!) applicable as in karma cause and effect..

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author avatar M G Singh
20th Aug 2013 (#)

Excellent Carolina, you have a mind that is above the ordinary.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
20th Aug 2013 (#)

Thank you Madan for a lucid explanation. You have made this interesting and easy to comprehend unlike textbooks using technical terms and jargon. The whole universe works on a fine balance - a genius keeps it going obviously. So it is natural that we will also be held accountable for our actions - every action has an equal and opposite reaction! siva

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author avatar M G Singh
20th Aug 2013 (#)

Thank you Siva

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author avatar Randhir Bechoo
20th Aug 2013 (#)

Very Interesting.

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author avatar Trillionaire
24th Aug 2013 (#)

Thank you.

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