Newton's Second Law

Simple Numerical Problems

Example 1:

A net force of 10 Newtons acts on a box which has a mass of 2 kg. What will be the acceleration of the box?


This is about as straightforward as it can get - Newton's Second Law says that the acceleration of an object equals the net force on it divided by its mass:

Example 1 solution

Note that if the net force is in Newtons and the mass is in kilograms, the acceleration is in m/s2. Why? Here's a way to think about it. The force "1 Newton" is defined to be the amount of force that will accelerate an object of mass 1 kg at 1 m/s2.

Example 2:

How much horizontal net force is required to accelerate a 1000 kg car at 2 m/s2?


Diagram for example 2

Newton's 2nd Law relates an object's mass, the net force on it, and its acceleration:

Example 2 solution

last update April 6, 2000 by JL Stanbrough