Is it easier to push or pull an object?


Quick Answer

A stationary object on a uniform, flat surface requires the same amount of force to push or pull. As long as the pushing or pulling force is strong enough to overcome the static friction force, the object will move.

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Full Answer

Objects move in response to forces, regardless of their direction. In order to move a stationary object, a force, either pushing or pulling, must overcome the resulting product of the coefficient of static friction between the object and the surface, the mass of the object, and the acceleration due to gravity.

The application of Newton's laws verifies this conclusion. The net force in the y-direction results in the equivalence of the object's weight and the normal force exerted by the floor, and the net force in the x-direction equates the applied force, either pushing or pulling, with the friction force. If the applied force is larger than the friction force, the object moves.

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