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Q11 CQ

Physics For Scientists & Engineers
Found in: Page 138

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Short Answer

Can an object exert a force on itself? Argue for your answer?

No, it can’t. If it could, objects would spontaneously accelerate and the world’s energy problem would have been solved a long time ago.

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Step by Step Solution

Newton’s third law of motion:

If object A exerts a force on object B, then object B must exert a force of equal magnitude and opposite direction back on object A.

An object cannot exert a force on itself.

Let’s assume an object exerts a force on itself. According to Newton’s third law of motion, the object eventually has to create a reaction force which would terminate the action force such that the total momentum stays zero and the object would still Newton’s third law of motion:not move.

Thus, for this case of spontaneously accelerating objects, Newton’s law must be invalid.

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