Unbalanced Force Examples: From Everyday Life to Scientific Experiments

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Wanna know what are some examples of unbalanced force in daily life? If yes, then you are at the right place at the very right time. Because, in this exclusive article, we are gonna explore the concept of unbalanced forces and provide some insightful examples that illustrate their practical applications from everyday life to scientific experiments. So, what are unbalanced forces anyway?

By definition, unbalanced forces occur when the net force acting on an object is not equal to zero, resulting in a change in motion. One can also say that unbalanced forces can cause objects to accelerate or decelerate, change direction, or deform. In this article, we will explore at least six examples of unbalanced forces and their effects on objects.


Unbalanced Force Examples: From Everyday Life to Scientific Experiments

  • Tug of War
  • Sliding a Box
  • Car Acceleration
  • Free Fall
  • Rocket Launch
  • Magnetic Attraction

Tug of War

Image Courtesy: Vecteezy

The very first one on my list is Tug of War. I hope you definitely would have played this game at least once in your life. Tug of War is a sport that pits two teams against each other in a test of strength.

As soon as the referee gives the signal, each player in their respective team starts to pull back as hard as they can. If one team exerts a greater force than the other, the rope will move in the direction of the stronger team, indicating an unbalanced force.

However, if both of the teams exert an equal amount of force in opposite directions, the rope remains stationary. Therefore, the forces exerted by both teams cancel each other out, resulting in a balanced force.

Sliding a Book

Image Source: Picture Physics

When you slide a book across the table, you feel resistance as the book slides against the table. In other words, there is (sliding) friction between the book and the table.

One can also say that when you push or slide a book across the table with a force greater than the force of friction (sliding), it will accelerate in the direction of the applied force due to the unbalanced force.

Car Acceleration

The acceleration of a car is one of the most exclusive scientific examples of unbalanced forces acting in real life. When you accelerate the car, the engine generates a forward force on the wheels, while the frictional forces between the wheels and the road exert a backward force.

For a car to accelerate in the forward direction, the forward forces have to be greater than the backward forces exerted due to the friction present between the wheels and the road. Just to mention that the frictional force working, in this case, is rolling friction.

Free Fall

Image Courtesy: ThoughtCo

Yup, you heard it right. The object falling under the effect of gravity occurs due to the imbalance between the forces that are acting on that object.

When an object falls freely under the effect of gravity if the gravitational forces are greater than the opposing forces (such as air resistance), the freely falling object will accelerate towards the ground.

However, if the forces are balanced, the object may float for some time. A perfect example of that would be a kite flying in the sky as long as the forces acting on it are perfectly balanced.

Rocket Launch

Image Source: Space.com

During a rocket launch, the hot exhaust gases generate a large force that propels the rocket in an upward direction. Just to let you know that since launching a rocket relies on action-reaction phenomena, this also gets counted as an exclusive example of Newton’s laws of motion.

If this upward force is greater than the force exerted by the earth’s gravity, the rocket is bound to move in an upward direction, hence leaving the earth’s atmosphere and escaping into space.

Magnetic Attraction

Last but not one on my list of unbalanced forces examples is magnetic attractions or repulsions. If you bring two magnets with opposite poles closer to each other, they will experience an unbalanced force of attraction causing them to move together.

Similarly, if you bring two magnets with the same poles closer to each other, they will experience an unbalanced force of repulsion causing them to move away from each other.

Some Other Unbalanced Force Examples in Daily Life

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

  • Bouncing Ball
  • Swinging a Bat
  • Sailing against the Wind
  • Rowing a Boat
  • Opening a Door
  • Circular Motion
  • Air Resistance on a Parachutist, 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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