Newton's Law of Motion

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A Newton's Law of Motion is a physical motion equation as enunciated by Newton.



  • (Wikipedia, 2016) ⇒
    • Newton's laws of motion are three physical laws that, together, laid the foundation for classical mechanics. They describe the relationship between a body and the forces acting upon it, and its motion in response to those forces. They have been expressed in several different ways, over nearly three centuries,and can be summarised as follows.
      • First law: When viewed in an inertial reference frame, an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by a force.
      • Second law: The vector sum of the forces F on an object is equal to the mass m of that object multiplied by the acceleration vector a of the object: F = ma.
      • Third law: When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.
The three laws of motion were first compiled by Isaac Newton in his Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy), first published in 1687. Newton used them to explain and investigate the motion of many physical objects and systems. For example, in the third volume of the text, Newton showed that these laws of motion, combined with his law of universal gravitation, explained Kepler's laws of planetary motion.


  • (Hyperphysics Encyclopedia, 2005) ⇒
    • Newton's First Law states that an object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an external force. It may be seen as a statement about inertia, that objects will remain in their state of motion unless a force acts to change the motion. Any change in motion involves an acceleration, and then Newton's Second Law applies; in fact, the First Law is just a special case of the Second Law for which the net external force is zero.
Newton's First Law contains implications about the fundamental symmetry of the universe in that a state of motion in a straight line must be just as "natural" as being at rest. If an object is at rest in one frame of reference, it will appear to be moving in a straight line to an observer in a reference frame which is moving by the object. There is no way to say which reference frame is "special", so all constant velocity reference frames must be equivalent.
Newton's Second Law as stated below applies to a wide range of physical phenomena, but it is not a fundamental principle like the Conservation Laws. It is applicable only if the force is the net external force. It does not apply directly to situations where the mass is changing, either from loss or gain of material, or because the object is traveling close to the speed of light where relativistic effects must be included. It does not apply directly on the very small scale of the atom where quantum mechanics must be used.
Newton's third law All forces in the universe occur in equal but oppositely directed pairs. There are no isolated forces; for every external force that acts on an object there is a force of equal magnitude but opposite direction which acts back on the object which exerted that external force. In the case of internal forces, a force on one part of a system will be countered by a reaction force on another part of the system so that an isolated system cannot by any means exert a net force on the system as a whole. A system cannot "bootstrap" itself into motion with purely internal forces - to achieve a net force and an acceleration, it must interact with an object external to itself.
Without specifying the nature or origin of the forces on the two masses, Newton's 3rd law states that if they arise from the two masses themselves, they must be equal in magnitude but opposite in direction so that no net force arises from purely internal forces.
Newton's third law is one of the fundamental symmetry principles of the universe. Since we have no examples of it being violated in nature, it is a useful tool for analyzing situations which are somewhat counter-intuitive. For example, when a small truck collides head-on with a large truck, your intuition might tell you that the force on the small truck is larger. Not so!