What is Net Force?

Net Force Definition:

The net force is simply the sum of all forces acting on an object. This can be further complicated when the forces are acting in different directions. In this case, the forces need to be broken down into their x and y components and then summed.

Net Force Formula

The following formula is used to calculate the net force acting on an object.

Net Force X Direction = F1*cos(a1) + F2*cos(a2) + ...
Net Force Y Direction = F1*sin(a1) +F2*sin(a2) +...
• Where F1, F2, etc are the forces
• a1, a2, etc are the angles those forces are applied to an object

Net Force Definition

The net force is simply the sum of all forces acting on an object. This can be further complicated when the forces are acting in different directions. In this case, the forces need to be broken down into their x and y components and then summed.

Net Force Example

How to calculate net force?

In this example problem, we will be determining the net force between two individual forces acting on an object.

These forces and angles are given as 20N at 5 degrees and 10N at 60 degrees.

First, we must break these forces into their X and Y components which is done by multiplying the force times the sine and cosine of the angles respectively.

Doing this we find the X components to be 19.92 N and 5N respectively.

X = 20*sin(5) = 19.92

X = 10*sin(60) = 5

For the Y components, they are calculated to be 1.74N and 8.66N respectively.

Y = 20*cos(5) = 1.74

Y = 10*cos(60) = 8.66

Next, the components are added together to get

F-x direction =19.92 + 5 = 24.92 N

F-y direction = 1.74 + 8.66 =10.40 N

With the individual components in hand, the magnitude of the force can be calculated with the following formula F = Sqrt(Fx^2+Fy^2) = 27N.

The angle at which this net force is acting can be calculated using the formula Tan^-1 (Fy/Fx) = 22.65 degrees.

FAQ

What is a net force?

A net force is the sum of all of the forces acting upon an object.