Definitions

# Net force

A net force, Fnet = F1 + F2 + … (also known as a resultant force) is a vector produced when two or more forces { F1, F2, … } act upon a single object. It is calculated by vector addition of the force vectors acting upon the object. A net force can also be defined as the overall force acting on an object, when all the individual forces acting on the object are added together.

• When force A and force B act on an object in the same direction (parallel vectors), the net force (C) is equal to A + B, in the direction that both A and B point. The A point has more force and moves in a separate direction the B will end up not moving to.

• When force A and force B act on an object in opposite directions (180 degrees between then - anti-parallel vectors), the net force (C) is equal to |A - B|, in the direction of whichever one has greater absolute value ("greater magnitude").

(Note: The illustration assumes that the object, in this case a square, has no center of mass and can be treated like a point.)

• When the angle between the forces is anything else, then the component forces must be added up using the parallelogram rule.

For example, see Figure 3. This construction has the same result as moving F2 so its tail coincides with the head of F1, and taking the net force as the vector joining the tail of F1 to the head of F2. This procedure can be repeated to add F3 to the resultant F1 + F2, and so forth. Figure 4 is an example.

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