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Forces & Free Body Diagrams Study Guide

LT3.3a: Contrast balanced and unbalanced forces and describe how they relate to an objects
motion.
LT3.3b: Use a free body diagram to explain the forces acting on an object and the objects
motion.
Brainstorming:
1. Are you exerting any forces right now? If so which ones?
2. Are there any forces acting on you? If so which ones?
3. How would you describe a force?

4. What can a force do to an object?

5. Forces are classified as balanced or unbalanced. Think about a tug of war-Describe a


situation where the forces would be balanced and one in which they would be
unbalanced.

Summary & some FYI:


Forces
1.

May cause

2. Can accelerate
3. Can change
4. Are classified as
5. Measured in

I) Types of Forces
Force
Gravity

Friction

How will I remember this? (Memory Cue or


picture)
Attractive force that acts between 2
masses
Amount depends on the mass of the
objects and the space between them

* opposes motion
* 4 Types
1. Static2. Sliding3. Rolling4. Fluid-

Applied

Applied to an object by another person or


object

Normal

Support force exerted upon an object in


contact with another stable object

Tension

Force transmitted through a string, rope, or


wire when it is pulled tight by forces acting
from each end.

Free-Body Diagrams
LT3.3b: Use a free body diagram to explain the forces acting on an object and the objects
motion.
A) Arrows are used to represent force strength and direction.
B) The bigger the arrow, the stronger the force.

Ffriction

Fnormal

(Air Resistance)

Ffriction

Fapplied
Fgravity

Fgravity

III) Steps For Drawing Free Body Diagrams


1. Determine the forces that are present (gravity, friction, normal, applied, tension)
2. Determine the direction in which each force is acting.
3. Draw a box and add arrows for each force in the correct direction.
4. Label the arrows.
5. Draw an arrow under the diagram to indicate the direction the object is moving
(if in motion)
Examples:
1. Draw a free body diagram for an I-Pod sitting on a desk.

2.

Draw a free body diagram for a skydiver falling straight down to the earth.

Free Body Diagram Practice


Directions: Draw a free body diagram for each situation.
1. A book at rest on a table.

2. An egg in free fall (no air resistance).

3. A rightward force applied to a book


to move it across the table (with
acceleration)

4. A leftward force applied to a book to


move it across the table at a constant
velocity.

5. An arrowhead student with a


motionless backpack on their
shoulders. (focus on the backpack)

6. A leaf that is falling from a tree


straight down with no wind (focus on
the leaf).

7. A force applied to the right to drag a


sled across loosely packed snow on a
flat surface (focus on the sled).

8. A car is coasting to the right and


slowing down on a flat surface (focus
on the car).