10 Newton’s First Law of Motion Examples in Everyday Life

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Newton’s 1st law (also known as the law of inertia) states that an object will continue to maintain its state of motion or rest until or unless it is acted upon by some external force. This external force can be friction, air drag, pseudo force, etc. To sum up, one can simply say that this law defines the relationship between the motion of an object and the net force acting on it.

In fact, all three of Newton’s law (compositely known as Newton’s law of gravity) defines the relationship between the motion of an object and the net force acting on it. No wonder in the current world of fundamental physics, these laws have already been superseded by Einstein’s General Relativity.

However, just because Newton’s Laws are mathematically easy to understand, and more importantly, have more real-life applications as compared to Einstein’s General Laws of Gravity.


Real Life Examples of Newton’s First Law

  • Motion of Football
  • Motion of Fan
  • You Can’t Push Wall
  • Coins on your Dashboard
  • Books Kept on Table
  • Motion of Earth around Sun

Motion of Football

Image Source: BeSoccer

Suppose you are watching a football game, and, Ronaldo kicks the football. Now if we assume that the friction is zero. Then, as a result, the ball will continue to move until someone oppose it. If anyone does not oppose it, it will move as much as big as the ground is.

It is called the inertia of motion. However, in real life, a ball having some speed will stop after traveling some distance. This simply happens because of frictional force which is the enemy of motion.


Motion of Fan

Image Source: Mr Right Services

In our everyday life, we observe that when we turn off the fan’s switch, it continues to rotate for some time (Depending on your fan). The question of this hour is why would it be rotating without the power.

This example explains inertia of motion which states that a moving body wants to continue to move until acted by some external force. The fan stops after some time because of air resistance which is nothing but another enemy of motion.


You Can’t Push Wall

Image Source: IStock

Have you ever tried to push a huge wall with your own hands? Does it move? This is also a direct application of inertia because the force you applied is very little compared to the force wall has.

Nevertheless, if you push a small table, it will easily move. Because you can change its inertia of rest by applying an external force on the table with your hands. Therefore, as a result, it is now displaying the inertia of motion.


Coins on your Dashboard

Image Source: Sugru

Have you observed that the coins kept on the dashboard of your car fall when you suddenly accelerate? This simply happens because the coins on the dashboard of your car will want to stay at rest as long as some external force is applied to it.

So, when you accelerate your car, you simply add some external force to the coins. Therefore, as a result, coins will be forced to leave their inertia of rest and fall from your car’s dashboard.


Book Kept on Table

Image Source: PrintingCenterUSA

Suppose you are having some books on the table. Well, who doesn’t have one? Now, suddenly you pull off the tablecloth in a very small time. As a result, the tablecloth will come out but books will remain in the same position.

This simply defines that the book kept on the table will resist the small external force applied during the removal of table cloth, and, as a result, will continue to have the inertia of motion.

No wonder, if you apply noticeably big external force while removing the tablecloth, the books kept on the table will definitely lose their inertia of rest and fall down from the table.


Motion of Moon around Earth

Image Source: NSTA

Our one and only moon revolve around the earth in a uniform motion as per the guidelines of Newton’s first law. As long as there is no external force applied on the moon, it will continue to revolve around the earth for an infinitely long time period.

In order words, one can say that moon will continue to show its inertia of motion around the moon as long as there is no external force applied. In fact, you can apply the same logic to all the planets revolving around the sun.


Some other Newton’s First Law of Motion Examples in Everyday Life

Apart from the above-mentioned ones, I am also mentioning a few here.

  • Car Airbags
  • When the driver applies the brake, you move forward
  • Spaceship in space
  • The dusting of a Carpet
  • Swimming
  • You can’t stop yourself instantly while running, etc.

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I am a mechanical engineer by profession. Just because of my love for fundamental physics, I switched my career, and therefore I did my postgraduate degree in physics. Right now I am a loner (as ever) and a Physics blogger too. My sole future goal is to do a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, especially in the field of cosmology. Because in my view, every aspect of physics comes within the range of cosmology. And I love traveling, especially the Sole one.

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