How are forces measured?


Quick Answer

Forces are measured by using devices such as bathroom scales and spring balances, also known as force meters or Newton meters. When the mass and acceleration of an object are given, forces can also be measured using the equation F = ma, where "F" indicates the force, "m" denotes the mass and "a" represents acceleration.

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Full Answer

Forces are pulls and pushes that are exerted on any object, which can cause the object to start or stop moving, change its course or alter its shape. These physical quantities are measured in standard units called Newtons. In the United States, forces are commonly measured in pounds.

There are four types of fundamental forces that exist in nature. These include gravity, electromagnetic, weak nuclear and strong nuclear forces. Gravitational force, which is the weakest among the four, is the easiest to observe and measure. It is a universal attractive force that gives weight to a material.

Weights, such as the weight of a person, can easily be measured using a bathroom scale, which contains a spring attached to a reading dial inside the device. The amount by which the spring compresses or stretches is indicated in the dial and is equivalent to the weight of the object. A spring balance has a hook secured to it where the object is suspended. The longer the spring is stretched, the stronger the amount of force that is exerted and the higher the reading on the balance.

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