Connection for AP® Courses

An x-ray image of a person's hips. The right hip joint (on the left in the photograph) has been replaced. A metal prosthesis is cemented in the top of the right femur and the head of the femur has been replaced by the rounded head of the prosthesis. A white plastic cup is cemented into the acetabulum to complete the two surfaces of the artificial ball and socket joint.

Figure 5.1 Total hip replacement surgery has become a common procedure. The head (or ball) of the patient’s femur fits into a cup that has a hard plastic-like inner lining. (credit: National Institutes of Health, via Wikimedia Commons)

Have you ever wondered why it is difficult to walk on a smooth surface like ice? The interaction between you and the surface is a result of forces that affect your motion. In the previous chapter, you learned Newton’s laws of motion and examined how net force affects the motion, position and shape of an object. Now we will look at some interesting and common forces that will provide further applications of Newton’s laws of motion.

The information presented in this chapter supports learning objectives covered under Big Idea 3 of the AP Physics Curriculum Framework, which refer to the nature of forces and their roles in interactions among objects. The chapter discusses examples of specific contact forces, such as friction, air or liquid drag, and elasticity that may affect the motion or shape of an object. It also discusses the nature of forces on both macroscopic and microscopic levels (Enduring Understanding 3.C and Essential Knowledge 3.C.4). In addition, Newton’s laws are applied to describe the motion of an object (Enduring Understanding 3.B) and to examine relationships between contact forces and other forces exerted on an object (Enduring Understanding 3.A, 3.A.3 and Essential Knowledge 3.A.4). The examples in this chapter give you practice in using vector properties of forces (Essential Knowledge 3.A.2) and free-body diagrams (Essential Knowledge 3.B.2) to determine net force (Essential Knowledge 3.B.1).

Big Idea 3 The interactions of an object with other objects can be described by forces.

Enduring Understanding 3.A All forces share certain common characteristics when considered by observers in inertial reference frames.

Essential Knowledge 3.A.2 Forces are described by vectors.

Essential Knowledge 3.A.3 A force exerted on an object is always due to the interaction of that object with another object.

Essential Knowledge 3.A.4 If one object exerts a force on a second object, the second object always exerts a force of equal magnitude on the first object in the opposite direction.

Enduring Understanding 3.B Classically, the acceleration of an object interacting with other objects can be predicted by using a→=∑F→ma→=∑ F→m .

Essential Knowledge 3.B.1 If an object of interest interacts with several other objects, the net force is the vector sum of the individual forces.

Essential Knowledge 3.B.2 Free-body diagrams are useful tools for visualizing forces being exerted on a single object and writing the equations that represent a physical situation.

Enduring Understanding 3.C At the macroscopic level, forces can be categorized as either long-range (action-at-a-distance) forces or contact forces.

Essential Knowledge 3.C.4 Contact forces result from the interaction of one object touching another object, and they arise from interatomic electric forces. These forces include tension, friction, normal, spring (Physics 1), and buoyant (Physics 2).

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