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Force, mass and acceleration

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# Forces and acceleration calculations

You should know the equation that shows the relationship between resultant force, mass and acceleration, and be able to use it.

## The equation

resultant force (newton, N) = mass (kg) × acceleration (m/s2)

You can see from this equation that 1N is the force needed to give 1kg an acceleration of 1m/s2.

• For example, the force needed to accelerate a 10kg mass by 5m/s2 is:
• 10 x 5 = 50N
• The same force could accelerate a 1kg mass by 50m/s2 or a 100kg mass by 0.5m/s2.
• Putting it simply, we can say that it takes more force to accelerate a larger mass.
Question
• A truck has a mass of 2,000kg.
• The driving force created by the engine is 3,000 newtons.
• Calculate the acceleration caused by this force.

1. Write down the equation.
• force = mass × acceleration
2. Rearrange the equation.
• acceleration = forcemass
3. Put in the values.
• acceleration = 3,000N2,000kg
4. Work out the answer and write it down.
• acceleration = 1.5m/s2

Check your understanding of this section by having a go at the activity.

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