In physics, a force is any influence that causes an object to undergo a certain change, either concerning its movement, direction, or geometrical construction. It is measured with the SI unit of newtons and represented by the symbol F. In other words, a force is that which can cause an object with mass to change its velocity (which includes to begin moving from a state of rest), i.e., to accelerate, or which can cause a flexible object to deform. Force can also be described by intuitive concepts such as a push or pull. A force has both magnitude and direction, making it a vector quantity.

The original form of Newton's second law states that the net force acting upon an object is equal to the rate at which its momentum changes with time. If the mass of the object is constant, this law implies that the acceleration of an object is directly proportional to the net force acting on the object, is in the direction of the net force, and is inversely proportional the mass of the object. As a formula, this is expressed as:

where the arrows imply a vector quantity possessing both magnitude and direction.

Related concepts to force include: thrust, which increases the velocity of an object; drag, which decreases the velocity of an object; and torque which produces changes in rotational speed of an object. Forces which do not act uniformly on all parts of a body will also cause mechanical stresses, a technical term for influences which cause deformation of matter. While mechanical stress can remain embedded in a solid object, gradually deforming it, mechanical stress in a fluid determines changes in its pressure and volume.

Read more about ForceDevelopment of The Concept, Pre-Newtonian Concepts, Newtonian Mechanics, Descriptions, Fundamental Models, Non-fundamental Forces, Rotations and Torque, Kinematic Integrals, Potential Energy, Units of Measurement

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Famous quotes containing the word force:

    It is the fixed that horrifies us, the fixed that assails us with the tremendous force of mindlessness. The fixed is a Mason jar, and we can’t beat it open. ...The fixed is a world without fire--dead flint, dead tinder, and nowhere a spark. It is motion without direction, force without power, the aimless procession of caterpillars round the rim of a vase, and I hate it because at any moment I myself might step to that charmed and glistening thread.
    Annie Dillard (b. 1945)

    So doth, so is Religion; and this blind-
    ness too much light breeds; but unmoved thou
    Of force must one, and forc’d but one allow;
    And the right; ask thy father which is she,
    let him ask his; though truth and falsehood be
    Near twins, yet truth a little elder is;
    John Donne (1572–1631)

    I kept him for his humour’s sake,
    For he would oft beguile
    My heart of thoughts that made it ache,
    And force me to a smile.
    William Cowper (1731–1800)