Newton’s 2nd Law of Motion states that if you apply a force to an object, it will accelerate at a rate proportional to its mass, and to the amount of force applied, and that the acceleration will be in the same direction as the force. We write this mathematically as: F = MA (Force = Mass times Acceleration). This makes sense, because we all know that it is easier to move a light object than a heavy one. A heavy object has a greater mass, and so needs more force to move it at the same acceleration. That’s why racing cars are built with big engines, and are made as light as possible: High force applied to low mass = very high acceleration. A big comfortable lumbering family car, on the other hand, has a weaker engine for fuel economy, and is loaded with hundreds of kilograms of safety gear and luxury features. High mass pushed by a weak force means low acceleration and a slow car.
Written by Allen Versfeld
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