In technical terms, a force is a quantity capable of modifying the amount of movement or the given shape of a body or a particle, it should not be confused with the concepts of effort or energy. Commonly, the concept of force is explained in terms of classical mechanics established by the principles of Isaac Newton (1642-1727), known as the Laws of Motion and published in 1687.
According to classical mechanics, the force that affects a body is responsible for the changes in its state of motion, such as its rectilinear trajectory and its uniform displacement, and for giving it an acceleration (or deceleration). Furthermore, every force acting on a body generates an identical force, but in the opposite direction.
Normally we talk about force in our daily lives, without necessarily using this word as physics does. The force is studied by physics and according to it, four fundamental forces are recognized at the quantum level: the gravitational force, the electromagnetic force, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force, on the other hand, in Newtonian (or classical) mechanics, there are many other identifiable forces, such as friction force, gravitational force, centripetal force, etc.
The main characteristics of the force are:
- It can be measured in different systems of units.
- It is a vector quantity, so it can be represented graphically using vectors (arrows).
- It has four fundamental properties that are: intensity, direction, sense and the point of application (surface where the force is applied).
- One can distinguish between contact forces and forces at a distance.
- Two forces can be distinguished according to their duration, which is why we speak of instantaneous forces, such as the force of tension, or lasting forces, such as the force of gravity.
- Bodies react in various ways to the application of a force, hence some may or may not be deformed.
Let’s look at this simple experiment and put it into practice!