17 Contact Force Examples: Exhaustive Insights And Facts

There are a variety of contact force examples that can be seen in our surroundings. Whenever two items come into contact with one another, the term force is used to describe the push or pull that happens.

Let us see a list of contact force examples as below:

These are the various and simple contact force examples that we see and experiences in our day-to-day life. A contact force is a force that acts between two bodies that are in contact with one another. Let us take a look at each of them in some detail.

Contact Force Examples

A glass of water:

People usually tend to see this type of contact force examples on an hourly basis around them as they keep on lifting the glass to drink water and then putting back on the table. Here glass is in contact with the flat surface where the contact force is simply acting in the form of the normal force.

Contact Force Examples

Image Credits: “glass-of-water-in-the-sunlight” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by seven1917

Food in the refrigerator:

The food kept on the shelves of the refrigerator experiences the normal force. This is the force exerted on the body at rest which is nothing but food in this case. As this food is in contact with and hence it experiences the normal force.

Contact Force Examples

Image Credits: “Stocked fridge. Real food.” (CC BY 2.0) by juhansonin

A person standing on ground:

When you or any other person around you stands on the ground, they are being in contact with the surface of the ground. Hence our body experiences the normal force which is because of the contact force and is being exerted by the ground.

Table lamp:

We all have the table lamp on our study table or on the office table. The lamp in the resting position kept on the table experiences the normal force. This force is exerted on the table lamp by the table as a result of contact force.

Contact Force Examples

Image Credits: Sandra FauconnierOrange Nessino table lamp by Artemide 05CC BY 4.0

Read more about the normal force

Hovering mouse:

This is one of the most common contact force examples. We all use a mouse attached to the computer or laptop for our work, study, and many other purposes. The mouse is basically used to hover the pointer on the screen to select the menu or other options we want.

In order to hover the screen pointer of the mouse, you have to physically move the mouse by using your hand. This is nothing but you are making contact with the mouse to apply some force on it. This applied force is nothing but one of the types of contact force.

Pressing a key on the keyboard:

Just like the mouse, the keys from a keyboard of the computer or laptop need to get pressed so that the command will appear on the screen of the respective devices. In this process, we are simply applying force by making contact with fingers on the keyboard. Hence the contact force plays a role in the form of applied force.

Bungee jumping:

Bungee jumping is one of the adventure sports where you can feel the proper tension force and spring force is created within the rope and the human body. In this person, feet are tied to the end of the rope and the other end is tied to the support located at some height. When the person jumps off the edge, he/she goes down and then at some point gets in the upward direction. This happens because of the tension force and spring force created by the contact between the rope and the feet of the person.

Car towing:

You often have observed that when the car is parked at the wrong places, gets towed. For towing purposes, one needs to lift and hang the car on the hook of the tow vehicle. This contact between the tow and car is nothing but the tension force which is being created while lifting them up. Tension is simply a pulling force.

Image Credits: Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas or alternatively © CEphoto, Uwe Aranas, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Tow-truck-03CC BY-SA 3.0

Suspension bridge:

In the case of a suspension bridge, the contact force is simply compression and tension. Compression, also known as compressive force, which operates on something in order to compress or shorten the item on which it acts. Tension, also known as tensile force, is a type of force that operates to expand or lengthen the object on which it acts.

Image Credits: Nic Trott, Clifton Suspension Bridge 2012CC BY 2.0


To initiate the fire, we must rub the wooden stick of the matchbox on the material coated on the box. By doing so we are creating friction between stick and coated material. This can only happen because of the contact force.

Furniture shifting:

When we are shifting the furniture, we are simply applying the force to the furniture. The furniture is always in the contact with ground or floor. When the frictional force which is also a contact force in this case is less then by the applied force, we can easily shift the furniture wherever we want.

Slides on the playground:

Children often enjoy the slides in the playground. When one is sliding down the slide, it is because of the friction force which is a contact force. Also, the children get slow down at the end of the slide because of the frictional force changing into gravity.

Kicking football:

While playing football one passes the ball to another person. To pass the ball, it is necessary to kick the ball, and to do so one must apply the force through the leg on the ball. Here contact force that acts between the feet and the ball is simply the applied force.

Image Credits: Dorcas Cheng-TozunKenyan boy kicking football as hard as possibleCC BY-SA 4.0

Jar opening:

 To open the bottle or the jar, we need to twist the top lid. For twisting, we need to apply the force on the lid which means that, here in the case of twisting the contact force is the applied force.

Chair pull:

In order to sit anywhere near the office table, dining table, or any other place, first, we have to pull a chair. When the chair is at rest, the normal force is being exerted on it by the floor or ground. However, while pulling purpose we need to apply the force on the chair. Therefore, in this situation, there are two types of contact forces acting on the chair which are the normal force and the applied force.

Bicycle ride:

Everyone loves to ride a bicycle for exercise as well as roaming purposes. To ride a bicycle, one needs to apply the force on the pedal which then results in movement of the bicycle. Also, there is always a frictional force constantly acting between the tyre of the bicycle and the road. So, when the person is riding a bicycle, there are two types of contact forces that come into play and that are the applied force and the friction force.

Image Credits: Image by Daniela Jakob from Pixabay 

Airplane in the sky:

Have you ever traveled by the airplane? If yes then you must have felt the friction that is occurring on the exterior part of the airplane and clouds and air. The force exerted on an item when it comes into contact with air while passing through it is known as the air resistance force. It is the result of friction between the air and another item. Here, in this case, this air resistance force is simply the contact force.

Image Credits: xlibberAnother Airplane! (4676723312)CC BY 2.0

Wooden block floating in a beaker:

When the person throws an object in the water, it floats. Similarly, when you put a wooden block in the beaker containing water, it floats at the surface of the water. There is a buoyance force or upthrust force acting between the piece of that wooden block and water. This force is the contact force in this case.  Depending on the parameter of buoyance force or upthrust force, the object can immerse or float in the liquid.

These all are the list of contact force examples in our surroundings.

Frequently Ask Questions (FAQ’s):

Q. What do you mean by contact force?

Ans: The force where it needs some physical contact to occur.

For the purposes of this definition, contact forces refer to forces that act between two objects that are physically in contact with one another.

Q. What is the basic difference between contact force and non-contact force?

Ans: The difference is just based on the word contact.

The contact forces can only be produced when there is physical activity on the item or an object. However, the non-contact force is the one where no physical activity needs to be done on the object, they are not visible.

Q. What are the different types of contact force?

Ans: There are mainly six types of contact force.

Air resistance force: The force that comes into play on an item when it comes into contact with air while passing through it is known as the air resistance force.

Frictional force: It is often known as friction, which is a force that works against the movement of an object.

Applied force: It is called applied force when someone or something applies force to another item in a direct manner, resulting in the object moving.

Spring force: The force generated when an external force forces a spring to alter its form is known as spring force or spring tension.

Normal force: The force that holds things in place while they’re lying on a stable surface is known as “normal force.”

Tension force: Tension acts as a compulsion. As a result of the tightening of both ends of things such as wires, ropes, cables, and rods.

Prajakta Gharat

I am Prajakta Gharat. I have completed Post Graduation in physics in 2020. Currently I am working as a Subject Matter Expert in Physics for Lambdageeks. I try to explain Physics subject easily understandable in simple way.

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