How To Calculate Acceleration With Force And Mass:Exhaustive Approaches And Facts

How to calculate acceleration with force and mass is a famous question asked to be answered. We know the acceleration that acts upon the body, where force and mass significantly influence it.

Acceleration measures how much a velocity changes at a given time. Velocity is the actual speed at which an object changes according to the frame of reference. The velocity depends on how much force moves the object forward or backward.

Acceleration acting upon a body mainly depends on force and mass, and how to calculate acceleration with force and mass is what we will discuss further. When an unbalanced force is not equal to zero, acting on the body will have more acceleration when the net is force is not equal to zero.

When the net force acting on the body is more, the acceleration acting on the body will also be more. Another point to remember is that the mass also affects acceleration. When the mass is less, the acceleration is also more.

As we all know, Newton’s Laws have been applied to several findings, and in acceleration, we use Newton’s Second Law. This comes in handy when we use it to calculate the acceleration of any moving body.

According to Newton’s Second Law, the force acting on a body is proportional to the mass, constant throughout, and the changing velocity. The formula is given as F = ma. We derive the acceleration as a = F / m.

In this context, we consider the force to be a net force. Because several forces are acting on the body that keeps it in motion, like normal force, frictional force, and so on. Hence we consider the total force to act on the body to be a net force.

How do you find acceleration with net force and mass

Firstly, we need to understand how force and mass influence a body’s acceleration that is under motion. The mass is the weight of the body moving, and the force is nothing but the net force acting on the body that triggers its movement.

All this is possible only due to one formula that obeys Newton’s Second Law and is derived from the same. The formula goes like this, a = F / m.

Here the force has different cases; the force can be normal, frictional force, tensional force, gravitational force, resultant force, and net force. Here, in this case, we consider the force to be a net force. And that particular force happens to an unbalanced force.

When acted upon a body, this unbalanced force triggers the body to change its rest position, from which it will start to be under motion. Then the body will have no other choice but to undergo motion.

Simple examples illustration on how to find acceleration with force and mass

When the mass applied is less, the acceleration is more and vice-versa. So we take a small example of a ball having a mass of 10kg rolling downhill with a force of 40N. So we must also consider the direction in which the ball moves. Let it be perpendicular to the area on which it is moving.

According to the equation of Newton’s Second Law, f = m x a

So a = F /m

a = 40 / 10

a = 4 ms-2

Let us also illustrate another example for better understanding. In a village, there was a hill where nobody used much because it had too many rocks and small stones that could roll down and hurt the pedestrians.

“rocks” by stebulus is licensed under CC BY 2.0

One day due to heavy rains, the rock and stones no longer stayed motionless and began to roll down the hill rapidly. Now let us calculate the acceleration of a big rock of mass 500kg that rolls down with force 1500N.

As per the formula, a = F / m

a = 15000 / 500

a = 30 ms-2

Apart from the acceleration with force and mass, there is one crucial factor: gravity. Also, a real example of how to calculate the acceleration with force and mass is what we will be detailing in this section.

A group of boys has been to a village for summer vacation. One amongst the boy who belongs to the village has fascinated his friend about a river that has a jumping end. Hence all the boys wanted to give it a try. One by one jumped into the river from the jumping point.

Now calculate the acceleration of the boy weight 30kg that jumps into the river with a force of 120N. We know the formula, a = F / m. Therefore, a= 120/30, a = 3ms-2.

Acceleration with force and mass in daily life activities

There is always a curiosity about how things work and are out into reality. Similarly, we generally see a vehicle move, but have we, as physicists, ever thought about the physics behind that cause?

Every day what we see perceive physics, but we fail to acknowledge it. Like said earlier, we see a car moving or even traveling in one; we never notice the science behind the process. So one main thing to do is to notice and acknowledge them in our day-to-day lives.

Acceleration of a body in motion and the findings are what we will be going through in this section. So from here on, wherever and whenever we see a car or a bus moving, we instantly must know that the acceleration is helping for such a process.

Firstly we need to see what mass has to do with the acceleration. Mass is the weight of that particular body that is associated with acceleration. When the mass is small, the acceleration is more. Hence this is how to calculate acceleration with force and mass.

This is simply common sense; when an object is heavy, it is difficult to move it from one place to another. When the mass is light, it can be mobilized quickly. Therefore the mass has a direct association with the acceleration.

“Car N Motion” by TheBusyBrain is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Problems on how to calculate acceleration with force and mass

Problem 1:

A cafe is situated at the corner of the town. Every morning several cyclists cycle away through the town and cross the cafe. The benches of the cafe are placed outside, so the view is got better as it is a beachside cafe.

One day, one of the cyclists cycled too fast and moved and slightly touched the giant statue placed near. This statue, due to its heavyweight it fell slowly to the ground. Now calculate at what acceleration the statue weighing 800kg with a gravitational force of 1100N.


a = F / m

a = 1100 / 800

a = 1.375 ms-2

Problem 2:

An object is motionless at the moment. When a net force 175N acts on that object weighing 50kg, how much acceleration will it use to move from its rest position?


a = F / m

a = 175 / 50

a = 3.5 ms-2

Frequently Asked Question

What are the few examples of acceleration in everyday activities?

Acceleration is the speed with which an object moves at a given time. It depends on the changing velocity with the time given.

  • When the object moves south 10N ms-2 in constant speed, it stays at the same pace until and unless a force is given. So when a force is applied, it will move with 15 ms-2. Now the object is said to be accelerated.
  • A girl keeps walking north with a speed of 10ms-2. The girl is said to have a constant speed, and hence the acceleration is zero.
  • When a ball rolls down the hill, it accelerates when a force is applied. If the ball weighs less, the acceleration is more, and if the ball weighs more, the acceleration becomes less eventually.
  • When a boy jumps off a cliff with force applied on him, he will be accelerated more and then finally will come to rest under the influence of gravity. But the amount of acceleration needed will depend on the force applied if force increases, then acceleration increases; if force decreases, the acceleration decreases.  
  • A boy is moving in north with acceleration 9ms-2. Gradually another force is acted upon the boy and now the measure changes to 15ms-2. Now the boy is said to be accelerated with net force acting on him.

Keerthana Srikumar

Hi...I am Keerthana Srikumar, currently pursuing Ph.D. in Physics and my area of specialization is nano-science. I completed my Bachelor's and Master's from Stella Maris College and Loyola College respectively. I have a keen interest in exploring my research skills and also have the ability to explain Physics topics in a simpler manner. Apart from academics I love to spend my time in music and reading books. Let's connect through LinkedIn-

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