What Can Exert A force: Exhaustive Insights and Facts

Can an inanimate object exert a force In this article, we will discuss What Can Exert A force.  

Force is a push or pull induced by the interaction between two objects. So, it is true to say that force can be exerted by the interaction of two objects. Once the interaction ends, objects do not experience the force anymore. Interaction is the fundamental way for forces to arise.  

But the question arises that What Can Exert A force or of what kind of interaction should take place between two objects to exert force or Can an inanimate object exert a force . Do it necessary to establish a contact between two objects to exert force or force can be exerted by any kind of interaction.   

To understand it in a better way, all interactions between objects are divided into two broad categories:   

Contact force

When two interacting entities are considered to be bodily engaging with each other, contact forces occur.

“Frictional forces, tensional forces, normal forces, air resistance forces, and applied forces are all examples of contact forces”.  

The force produced from the action at a distance (non-contact force)

This type of force is experienced when two objects are not bodily engaged with each other but can still impose a push or pull regardless of their bodily separation.

Gravitational force is example of force produced due to action at a distance. Sun and other planets have a very large distance between them but still, there is a force exerted by the sun and planets on each other. This force between the sun and other planets is also an example of force-producing from the action at a distance.

When we walk and our feet leave the earth’s surface and are no more in touch with the earth, even then there remains a gravitational force between our feet and the Earth.

Electric forces also act at some distance. After having short distance separation, protons inside the nucleus and electrons outside the nucleus feel a force of attraction with each other.

On the other hand, Magnetic forces are action-at-a-distance forces. Two magnets, for example, can exert a magnetic force on each other despite being distanced by only a few centimeters.   

Do all objects exert force ?

What Can Exert A force?

All objects exert force on each other while they are bodily engaged but even if two objects are not in physical touch, they exert a gravitational force of attraction on each other.

True, however, humans aren’t aware of such forces since nobody on Earth has an enormously high mass. As a result, the force of gravity among the two items is so small that they are undetectable. Since the attractive force of gravity between two bodies in a place is relatively low due to their modest masses, they do not push or pull towards one other.

The force of gravity is used by objects with mass to exert forces on one other.

“Magnitude of this force is directly proportional to the product of masses of two interacting objects and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.” 

Newton’s law of Gravitation: [latex]F_{g}= -\frac{GmM}{r^{2}}[/latex]  

For all masses at the Earth’s surface, the parameters G, M, and r are the same. These components are added together to get the constant g, which we refer to as the acceleration due to gravity.  

[latex]g= \frac{GM}{r^{2}}=\frac{6.67\times 10^{-11}Nm^{2}/kg^{2}\times 5.98\times 10^{24}kg}{(6.37\times 10^{6}m)^{2}}=9.8 m/s^{2}[/latex]  

The force of gravity imposed by the Earth on a body of mass m has a value of mg and is aimed downwards at the Earth’s surface. 

Can an inanimate object exert a force ?

Yes, even inanimate objects can exert force. When you stand on a trampoline, for example, the trampoline deforms under your weight, exerting an upwards pressure on you to keep you from falling through.

Because the interactions between atoms and molecules are similar to those between the spring and stretchable fabric that make up a trampoline, when a pencil is placed on a desk, both the pencil and the desk are somewhat distorted. Although the distortion is too slight to see, the forces that cause it to keep the pen from going through the desk. 


Does a physical object have to exert force 

As we discussed before that the force is a push or pull and occurs due to interactions of two bodies. 

Equal and opposing action-reaction force pairings are always present.  For example; Nature has a wide range of action-reaction force pairings. Consider a fish’s ability to move across the water. The fins of a fish are used to push water backward. On the other hand, a push on the water will simply serve to speed it.

Because reciprocal contacts produce forces, the water sh\uld likewise be forcing the fish ahead, propelling it through the water. The pressure felt by water is same as the pressure felt by fish in magnitude but the direction of the pressure felt on water is backwards while direction of pressure felt by fish is forward. There is an equivalent (in size) and opposing (in direction) response force for every action. Fish can swim because of action-reaction force pairings.  

According to newton’s third law, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Or Force occurs in pairs and they act on different bodies.   

This law means that for every interaction, two main forces are operating on the two engaging bodies in each interaction.

“The forces acting on the first object are equivalent to the forces acting on the second object. The force on the first object is directed in the opposite direction as the force on the second object.”

Can a particle exert force on itself ?

In classical physics, particles do not apply forces to themselves since the classical models that were efficient at forecasting the state of systems did not need them to do so.  

In classical mechanics, one might now establish a rationale. According to Newton’s laws, every action has an equal and opposite response. If I exert 100N of force on my table, it responds by exerting 100N of force in the other direction.

Consider this: a particle that exerts a force on itself is then pushed back in the opposite direction by itself with an equal force. It’s as though you’re squeezing your hands together tightly. You exert a great deal of power, yet your hands don’t move since you’re simply pushing against yourself. You push back every time someone pushes you. 

In quantum mechanics, things are starting to get more fascinating. Avoiding digging into the finer details, quantum physics reveals that particles do interact with one another. And they have to interact with their interactions, and so forth. So, if we get down to the most basic levels, we can witness significant particle self-interactions. This self- interaction of particle is not observed in classical mechanics.    

Can a block exert a force on itself 

A body cannot accelerate itself by exerting a force on itself. If it could, things would’ve been able to speed without having contact with their surroundings. Pulling on your bootstraps will not help you get up.

The conservation of momentum is similar to the statement that the resultant force in a closed system is zero, and the law of conservation of momentum may be inferred from the uniformity of space. A mathematician named Emmy Noether confirmed this fact a long time ago.  

Newton’s Second Law states, “the time rate of change of the momentum of a body is equal in both magnitude and direction to the force imposed on it.”

So by this law, a body cannot exert a net force on itself. If you exert a force F on your body with your hands, your body will exert an equal and opposite force F on your hands, resulting to the net zero force on your body. 


Why do particles exert force  

Because of the close proximity of particles, particles exert a powerful force force. 

The particles are held very held together and they interact with each other. Their connection resulted in an attractive force between them. The intermolecular force of attraction attracts particles. This force is very powerful.

Why do charges exert forces on each other  

As we study electrodynamics, charged particles interact with each other.

Charged particles have an intrinsic fundamental property that like charges repel each other and unlike charges attract each other, a force called electrostatic force is brought among charges due to this intrinsic property of charges.

This force is quite similar to the Gravitational force of attraction but the basic difference between the two is coulombs force can be repulsive as well as attractive while the gravitational force is only an attractive force.   

“This force is directly proportional to the product of the mass of charges and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between those two charges”.

The electric field might also explain this. The features of the space enclosing a charged body vary, allowing it to function as an interaction channel among two charged bodies applying force on one another.  

How does air inside a container exert pressure  

Because of high kinetic energy and negligible force of attraction or weak intermolecular forces, gas particles can move in every direction at very high speed.

Due to the strong random mobility of the particles, they collide with one another and with the container’s walls. The pressure on the container walls is caused by the interactions of the air molecules with the container walls.  

Why can’t a body exert a net force on itself 

Because of newton’s second law of motion

If you exert a force F on your body with your hands, your body will exert an equal and opposite force F on your hands. As a result, there is no net force operating on your body.  

So by this law, a body cannot exert a net force on itself.

Frequently asked questions| FAQs  

Q. How do you find the force an object exerts?  

One can calculate the force exerted on an object using newton’s second law of motion   

Newtons are used to measure force, kilograms are used to measure mass, and meters per second squared are used to measure acceleration. 

“The force applied by a body is proportional to its mass times its acceleration”: F = m a. You must use SI units to use this formula

Q. What are some examples of force pairs?  

Cars can travel along a highway surface thanks to action-reaction force couples.

As a car moves on the road, the wheel holds the road and exerts a force backward on-road, and the road exerts a force on wheal in forwarding direction. This is a classic example of action-reaction force.

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”  

Q. What force the object will apply in reaction of the force applied by you on object? 

Will be equal and opposite   

All forces acting on two objects are of equal magnitude and opposing direction. Only one of the two bodies determines the amount and direction of the forces in particular cases. If you apply a force on an inanimate item, you will also define the force that the object imposes on you – a force that is equal to and opposite to yours.

Q. How many types of fundamental force are there?  

Fundamental forces are divided into four categories. Four basic forces determine how things or particles engage and how some particles decline: gravitational, electromagnetic, strong, and weak.   



I am Sakshi Sharma, I have completed my post-graduation in applied physics. I like to explore in different areas and article writing is one of them. In my articles, I try to present physics in most understanding manner for the readers.

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