Newton’s 3rd Law Examples in Everyday Life

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Almost all of us have already heard that according to newton’s 3rd law, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. But, what does that mean physically? It simply means that forces come in pairs.

This pair of forces is commonly known as Action and Reaction Forces. In fact, this is why this law is also known as the law of action and reaction.

Newton’s Third Law Examples in Everyday Life

  • Slapping Someone
  • Recoil of a Gun
  • Hammering a Nail
  • When we Walk
  • Launching a Rocket
  • Swimming

Slapping Someone

Image Source: BBC

Ever wondered if you slap someone, why do you feel pain in your hand too? Well, this happens because of the law of action and reaction forces i.e newton’s 3rd law.

The force with which you are slapping a person is nothing but an action force that in turn exerts a backward force. The backward force or reaction force is responsible for the pain you feel after slapping someone.

Recoil of Gun


Even the recoil of the bullet cannot be defined without using newton’s law. When a person fires a bullet, the gun puts a force (action force) on the bullet which in turn helps the bullet to move in the forward direction.

On the other hand, due to the action and reaction phenomena, the bullet also exerts a force (reaction force) on the gun, hence making it recoil in the backward direction.

Hammering a Nail

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

When you hit a Nail with a hammer, it exerts a force (action force) on the nail making it go deep inside the wood or a wall.

On the other hand, a piece of wood also exerts an equal force (reaction force) on the hammer but in opposite direction. Hence, the hammer comes to standstill.

When we Walk

Image Source: The New York Times

In order to move forward, we take small steps on the street or road while walking. So, when we walk, we exert pressure on the street, which helps us to move forward.

Here the force exerted by your feet on the ground is action force. On the other hand, just because there is a reaction to this action force, we are able to move forward.

Launching a Rocket

Image Source:

One of the biggest applications of Newton’s third law is in launching a rocket into deep space. In order to produce thrust, a rocket engine relies on action-reaction phenomena to escape the earth’s gravitational force.

When the rocket engine is ignited, the hot exhaust gases create a downward force (action force) which in turn creates a thrust (reaction force) in an upward direction that helps the rocket to leave the earth’s atmosphere and escape into space.


Image Source: SHAPE

Do you swim? If you do, you would have observed that while swimming, you have to push the water in the backward direction. And, in return, the water pushes you in the forward direction.

In the case of swimming, the force with which you push the water in a backward direction is action force. And, the force with which water pushes you in the forward direction is nothing but a reaction force.

Some other Newton’s Third Law Examples in Real Life

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

  • Bouncing a ball
  • Kicking a Football
  • Book on the table
  • Sitting on a chair
  • Rowing a boat
  • Standing against the tree, 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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