Enter the mass, acceleration, and frictional force resisting motion into the calculator to determine the applied force.

Applied Force Formula

The following formula is used to calculate an applied force.

AF = m*a - FF
  • Where AF is the applied force
  • m is the mass
  • a is the acceleration
  • FF is the frictional force or any opposing force to the applied force.

To calculate an applied force, multiply the mass by the acceleration, then subtract the frictional force.

As states above, this equation takes into account when there is a force opposing the motion of the object caused by the applied force.

Applied Force Definition

An applied force is a force that is acting on an object that causes it to accelerate in the direction of the force.

Is applied force contact or noncontact?

An applied force can be both contact and noncontact. A contact force example would be something pushing or pulling another. A non-contact force would be gravity.

Is force applied through distance?

Force is applied along with the full distance an object travels as long as the force remains in contact with the object that is moving.

Can applied force be negative?

An applied force can only be negative with respect to direction but not with respect to magnitude. For example, a force could have a magnitude of 20N in the negative x-direction.

Does applied force affect friction?

An applied force could affect both kinetic and static friction if the force is acting perpendicular to the surfaces of friction. This force would increase the normal force acting on the object thus increase the friction force.

How to find applied force without acceleration?

To find the applied force without acceleration, first, you would need both the initial and final velocity along with time. From those, you could calculate the acceleration using the formula a = (vf-vi)/t. From there calculate the applied force using F=ma.

How to find applied force with mass and coefficient of friction?

To find an applied force with mass and coefficient, first, find the friction force. Then determine the acceleration of the object. The applied force will equal the friction force plus the mass of the object times its acceleration.

Is applied force equal to net force?

An applied force can equal a net force if the applied force is the only force acting on the object. Otherwise, the applied force will not equal the net force.

What happens if friction force is greater than applied force?

If a friction force is greater than an applied force the object that the forces are acting on will not move. The friction force is a resistance to movement, so any applied force less than it will not move the object.

What happens when force is applied to an object?

A force applied to an object will cause that object to begin accelerating assuming no other forces are acting on it.

Applied Force Example

How to calculate an applied force?

  1. First, determine the mass.

    Measure the mass of the object. (Typically in kg)

  2. Next, determine the acceleration.

    Measure or calculate the acceleration in the direction of the applied force.

  3. Next, determine any opposing forces.

    Measure any opposing forces such as friction that are opposite of the applied force.

  4. Finally, calculate the applied force.

    Using the formula above, calculate the applied force.


What is a force?

A force is any action that causes an object of mass to accelerate.