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Balanced and Unbalanced Forces

The quantitative term force shows the interaction between two objects. It can be between an object and its surroundings. It is described by Newton’s law of motion in which the first law explained the concept of inertia while the second law gives the concept of force and its dependence factors. It depends on the acceleration and mass of the respective object.

Force is equal to the product of mass and acceleration. Its general mathematical representation is shown as:
F = ma
where 'm' is the mass and 'a' is the acceleration of a moving object.

In calculus form, it is momentum derivative in the given period of time. The force is classified in various forms. It can be contact force and non-contact force. The contact force is the exerted force between the physically contacted objects while the non-contacts are exerting force on the objects which are not in contact. Some force like gravitation and electromagnetic forces, gravitational force are non-contact force while forces like normal, tangential etc are contact force. They are also classified as balanced and unbalanced force. Let’s discuss the balanced force and its properties which decide the motion of objects.

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What are Balanced and Unbalanced Forces?

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The force which acts on the body can be classified as:
  • Balanced force
  • Unbalanced force
Balanced Force illustration
Squeeze a rubber ball between the palms of your hands. What do you observe? The shape of the rubber ball changes. The force applied on the ball is equal and opposite, so the resultant of this force does not move the object, instead the object gets deformed as long as the force is applied. This is a temporary deformation.

Balanced Force

Here, equal and opposite forces act on a body, and the body is not moving, so, we can say that the body is in equilibrium (body) or we can also state as balanced forces acting on an object.
The Resultant of Balanced force is Zero.

Unbalanced force illustration
The figures show a block of wood on a table. When the block is pulled at point A, it begins to move towards the left and if the block is pulled at the point B it moves towards the right.

Unbalanced force

We can observe two things here:
  1. A force acting on an object changes its speed or direction
  2. The Resultant of these forces is always greater than zero
Hence the force is said to be Unbalanced.

Balanced and Unbalanced Forces Definition

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Balanced Force : If a number of forces are acting on a body and the body does not move, the forces are called Balanced forces. The Resultant of the Balanced force is Zero.

Unbalanced Force :
If a resultant of forces acting on a body is non-zero, the state of rest or motion of the body changes, such forces acting on the body are said to be unbalanced forces.

Examples of  Balanced and Unbalanced Forces

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Balanced Force Examples

Example 1: Hanging Bodies or Objects
The forces on the hanging box are equal and act in opposite direction.
  • Weight: Pulls in downward direction
  • Tension: In the rope pulls up
Balanced Force Example
              Hanging box

Example 2: Floating in Water
When the weight of the object is balanced by the upthrust from water, the object floats. The equal and opposite force is the only reason the object does not sink in water. If the weight is more, the object will sink.

  • Weight - downward direction
  • Upthrust - upward direction

Unbalanced Force Examples:

  1. Sliding or moving the furniture is also an example of unbalanced force.
  2. Tension in the string in also an example of unbalanced force.
  3. Pulling water from the well with the help of rope and a pulley is an example of unbalanced force.
  4. A collapsing bridge would be an example of unbalanced force.
More topics in Balanced and Unbalanced Forces
Balanced Force Unbalanced Force
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