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Physics for Scientists and Engineers: A Strategic Approach with Modern Physics
Found in: Page 153

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Short Answer

If you know all of the forces acting on a moving object, can you tell the direction the object is moving? If yes, explain how. If no, give an example.

If all of the forces acting on the moving object are understood, it is impossible to estimate its direction.

See the step by step solution

Step by Step Solution

Step 1: Introduction

Knowing all of the forces operating on the object can only establish the direction of acceleration, not the direction in which the object is travelling.

Step 2 : Explanation

The direction of motion of an object travelling at a constant speed is determined by the direction of the net force acting on it.

When the net force operating on the body is zero, the body is at rest. If the body's net force is greater than zero, the body will move in the direction of the resultant force.

As a result, even if all of the forces acting on the moving item are known, determining its direction is impossible.

Step 3: Explanation with Example 

The example involves applying the various forces acting on the block in all directions. The resultant force will be directed in the same direction as the object's motion.

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