31+ Newton’s Third Law Of Motion Examples: Detailed Explanations

Newton’s third law of motion states that “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”

When one object exerts a force on another object, the reaction force equal in magnitude but opposite in direction is felt on the body of the object applying the force. Here is a list of Newton’s third law of motion examples that we are going to discuss in this topic:-

Riding Horse

The horse rides using its muscular force which is felt on the horse rider’s body.

As more muscular force is utilized by the horse, the horse rider is pushed in the upward direction due to the reaction force.

Trigger the Bullet

On pulling the trigger the force is incident on the bullet that accelerates the bullet in the forward direction. At the same time, the reaction force is exerted backward creating the impact force on the hand.

Bouncing Ball

As the ball bounces on the ground, the potential energy of the ball is again converted into kinetic energy due to the reaction force equal in magnitude felt on the ball by the ground as it imposes the force on the ground.

Hence, the ball bounces till the force applied by the ball on the ground becomes zero.

American Handball

A ball is thrown on the wall and it bounces back. The ball exerts a force on a wall and the equal force is felt on the ball that pushes it back.

Tennis Racket

As the tennis ball strikes the net of the racket, the force exerted on the racket is also felt on the hand, but the reaction force applied by the hand is greater than the ball to throw the ball in the forward direction.

Tennis racket opposing the force of the ball; Image Credit: pixabay

Drawing Water from Well

A pulley is used to draw the water from the well that changes the direction of the force applied thus reducing the effort of muscular force required. The force is applied to pull the rope in a downward direction, the bucket moves in an upward direction.

Balancing Scale

On putting a weight in one pan of the weight measuring scale, it moves downward while the other pan of the scale moves in an upward direction.

Balancing scale; Image Credit: pixabay

The direction of the force applied on the pan which is full is downward and the reaction force on the other pan is in the upward direction.


A swimmer in a pull pushes his body to accelerate by touching his feet on the wall of a pool.

Swimmer; Image Credit: pixabay

The greater the force applied on a wall, the more he will push his body forward to get a speed in the water.

Rocket Launch

To lift the weight of a body from the surface of the Earth a thrust is generated. This thrust must be enough the lift the rocket away from the Earth’s atmosphere sufficiently to cancel the gravitational pull of the Earth.

The action is the acceleration of the rocket while the reaction force is a trust applied on the ground.

Whistle Balloon

The whistle sound is heard as the air escapes from the balloon. If the air is escaping towards the ground, the balloon will move in the upward direction. In the end, when the volume of air left in the balloon is less, the direction of the path of the balloon is changed rigorously as its center of gravity varies.


The two fast moving cars when hit on each other, the cars will impose a force on each other, in response to it, both the cars will jerk back due to the equal reaction force acting on both the cars. The kinetic energy of the cars will be nullified and come to a rest.


While walking we actually apply a force on one foot while simultaneously lifting the other leg forward.

Newton’s third law makes it possible for us to walk. It is also true that the frictional force plays a vital role. The frictional force is applied on the foot while walking that holds up our foot in the place.


To lift the drone model, the trust is applied on the ground and the change in speed and direction is handled by the amount of voltage supplied to each motor of the drone by controlling it remotely.

Drone; Image Credit: Pixabay

The trust applied downward makes it possible to fly the drone in the air.

Stepping on Land from the Boat

While landing out from the boat, you apply a force on the floor of a boat that is still in a boat to push your body forward to step on the ground. The reactive force pushes the boat in the backward direction.


To push the body forward, the skier applied the force in the backward direction with the help of a stick in his hand.

Skiing; Image Credit: pixabay

Hence, to come to a rest the skier has to apply the force in the forwarding direction to resist the motion of the skiing board.

Throwing a Stone into the Water

Upon throwing the stone in the water, the water will be thrown upward due to the impact that the stone creates on the water.

Throwing a stone in water; Image Credit: pixabay

Gravitational Force between Earth and Moon

The gravitational force exerted on the Earth by the Moon is equal to the gravitational force exerted by the Earth on the Moon.

The gravitational force is the force due to gravity between each object which is equal in magnitude and opposite in direction

Magnetic Force between Two Bar Magnets

Each bar magnet exerts equal and opposite magnetic force on each other. As the distance between the two increases the magnetic force between the two decreases whether it is an attractive force or a repulsive force.

Catching the Ball

You must have observed that the fielder on a cricket ground pulls his hands a little down while catching the ball.

Passing the ball; Image Credit: pixabay

This is to reduce the force imposing on the hand as the ball falls from the height and also to minimize the equal and opposite force that might cause the ball to bounce back from the hand.

Boxer Punching on a Sandbag

The equal force is felt on the hand of a boxer punching on a sandbag and hence it is diverted towards the boxer.

Boxing; Image Credit: pixabay


While hammering a nail, as you put a force on a nail the reaction force in response will be felt on the hammer and thus it lifts up.

The frictional force is created due to the hammering which generates the heat energy and even the radiant energy if the frictional force is large enough.

Row the Boat

To row the boat forward, you push the water backward.

You applied the force backward and in response, the force is exerted on the boat to push it in the forward direction.

Pushing the Object

Suppose you are pushing the heavy load by applying the push force in the forward direction then at the same time the restive force in the form of a frictional force is acting on the surface of the object that is in contact with another surface acting backward direction.

Newton’s Cradle

The force applied on the stationary bob from one bob of the cradle at one end transfers the momentum to the rest of the bobs, lifting the bob at another end of the cradle.

Newton’s cradle; Image Credit: pixabay

The reaction force is felt from this same bob in the opposite direction lifting the bob on the first end of the cradle back into the air and the process continues till the bobs are bought to the rest.

Magma Formation

The surface of the Earth’s crust that submerges beneath the crust is converted into magma back again under great pressure and temperature conditions.

Frictional Force on the Tire of a Car

The force that controls the motion of a car and prevents it from slipping is frictional force.

As the car accelerates the frictional force is exerted on the tires of a car in the opposite direction. The frictional force is in correspondence with the mass and the acceleration of a car.

Pulling a Rubber Belt

Upon pulling the rubber belt tying on the waist, the elastic potential force will be generated in the belt that will backward of your motion.

Stretching the rubber belt; Image Credit: pixabay

At a distance where the potential energy built in a belt becomes large, it will pull you back with a great force.


If you put a force on the spring by pressing it, the spring potential energy is built up in a spring that is converted into kinetic energy upon releasing the pressure by acting the reaction force in the opposite direction.


The force that you put while jumping on the trampoline will put an equal force on your body throwing your body in the opposite direction upward.

Trampoline; Image Credit: pixabay

The force is exerted due to the elastic surface of the trampoline. The higher you jump more force will be imposed on the trampoline and the higher will your body will be raised in the air.


While jumping you apply the force on the ground by your feet to push your body up. This generates an equal and opposite reaction.

Fruit Fell from the Tree

The fruit falling towards the ground possesses gravitational potential energy that is converted into kinetic energy.

Apples on the ground; Image Credit: pixabay

As the fruit dashes the ground it bounces back due to the reaction force exerted on the fruit by the ground.

Tug of War

In the game of tug of war, the players from both sides apply the force in response to the opposition forces.

Tug of war; Image Credit: pixabay

The force applied by the player is in the direction opposite to the force applied by the opponent. Due to this, the tensional force is generated in the rope.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is conserved in the application of Newton’s third law of motion?

The reaction force exerted on the body is equal in magnitude.

The momentum of the object is conserved when the object imposes a force on the other object.

Do books kept on the tables follows Newton’s third law?

The stack of books applies a force on the table.

The direction of the force by the books on the table is acting downward while an equal amount of force is exerted on the books by the table in the upward direction to resist the force by the book.

How does the bow apply Newton’s third law?

The bowstring is pulled backward doing thus built potential energy in the string.

Upon releasing the string, the force is imposed on the arrow that gives the energy to the arrow to accelerate.


Hi, I’m Akshita Mapari. I have done M.Sc. in Physics. I have worked on projects like Numerical modeling of winds and waves during cyclone, Physics of toys and mechanized thrill machines in amusement park based on Classical Mechanics. I have pursued a course on Arduino and have accomplished some mini projects on Arduino UNO. I always like to explore new zones in the field of science. I personally believe that learning is more enthusiastic when learnt with creativity. Apart from this, I like to read, travel, strumming on guitar, identifying rocks and strata, photography and playing chess. Connect me on LinkedIn - linkedin.com/in/akshita-mapari-b38a68122

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