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In classical mechanics, **Newton's laws of motion** are three laws that describe the relationship between the motion of an object and the forces acting on it. The first law states that an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless it is acted upon by an external force.^{ [1] } The second law states that the rate of change of momentum of an object is directly proportional to the force applied, or, for an object with constant mass, that the net force on an object is equal to the mass of that object multiplied by the acceleration. The third law states that when one object exerts a force on a second object, that second object exerts a force that is equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first object.

- Laws
- Newton's first law
- Newton's second law
- Newton's third law
- History
- Importance and range of validity
- See also
- References
- Bibliography
- External links

The three laws of motion were first compiled by Isaac Newton in his * Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica * (*Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy*), first published in 1687.^{ [2] } Newton used them to explain and investigate the motion of many physical objects and systems, which laid the foundation for Newtonian mechanics.^{ [3] }

The first law states that an object at rest will stay at rest, and an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted on by a net external force. Mathematically, this is equivalent to saying that if the net force on an object is zero, then the velocity of the object is constant.

where:

- is the net force being applied ( is notation for summation),
- is the velocity, and
- is the derivative of with respect to time (also described as the acceleration.)

Newton's first law is often referred to as the * principle of inertia *.

Newton's first (and second) law is valid only in an inertial reference frame.^{ [4] }

The second law states that the rate of change of momentum of a body over time is directly proportional to the force applied, and occurs in the same direction as the applied force.

where is the momentum of the body.

Some textbooks use Newton's second law as a *definition* of force,^{ [5] }^{ [6] }^{ [7] } but this has been disparaged in other textbooks.^{ [8] }^{:12–1}^{ [9] }^{:59}

For objects and systems with constant mass,^{ [10] }^{ [11] }^{ [12] } the second law can be re-stated in terms of an object's acceleration.

where **F** is the net force applied, m is the mass of the body, and **a** is the body's acceleration. Thus, the net force applied to a body produces a proportional acceleration.

Variable-mass systems, like a rocket burning fuel and ejecting spent gases, are not closed and cannot be directly treated by making mass a function of time in the second law;^{ [11] }^{ [12] } The equation of motion for a body whose mass m varies with time by either ejecting or accreting mass is obtained by applying the second law to the entire, constant-mass system consisting of the body and its ejected or accreted mass; the result is^{ [10] }

where **u** is the exhaust velocity of the escaping or incoming mass relative to the body. From this equation one can derive the equation of motion for a varying mass system, for example, the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation.

Under some conventions, the quantity on the left-hand side, which represents the advection of momentum, is defined as a force (the force exerted on the body by the changing mass, such as rocket exhaust) and is included in the quantity **F**. Then, by substituting the definition of acceleration, the equation becomes **F** = m**a**.

The third law states that all forces between two objects exist in equal magnitude and opposite direction: if one object *A* exerts a force **F**_{A} on a second object *B*, then *B* simultaneously exerts a force **F**_{B} on *A*, and the two forces are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction: **F**_{A} = −**F**_{B}.^{ [13] } The third law means that all forces are * interactions * between different bodies,^{ [14] }^{ [15] } or different regions within one body, and thus that there is no such thing as a force that is not accompanied by an equal and opposite force. In some situations, the magnitude and direction of the forces are determined entirely by one of the two bodies, say Body *A*; the force exerted by Body *A* on Body *B* is called the "action", and the force exerted by Body *B* on Body *A* is called the "reaction". This law is sometimes referred to as the * action-reaction law *, with **F**_{A} called the "action" and **F**_{B} the "reaction". In other situations the magnitude and directions of the forces are determined jointly by both bodies and it isn't necessary to identify one force as the "action" and the other as the "reaction". The action and the reaction are simultaneous, and it does not matter which is called the *action* and which is called *reaction*; both forces are part of a single interaction, and neither force exists without the other.^{ [13] }

The two forces in Newton's third law are of the same type (e.g., if the road exerts a forward frictional force on an accelerating car's tires, then it is also a frictional force that Newton's third law predicts for the tires pushing backward on the road).

From a conceptual standpoint, Newton's third law is seen when a person walks: they push against the floor, and the floor pushes against the person. Similarly, the tires of a car push against the road while the road pushes back on the tires—the tires and road simultaneously push against each other. In swimming, a person interacts with the water, pushing the water backward, while the water simultaneously pushes the person forward—both the person and the water push against each other. The reaction forces account for the motion in these examples. These forces depend on friction; a person or car on ice, for example, may be unable to exert the action force to produce the needed reaction force.^{ [16] }

Newton used the third law to derive the law of conservation of momentum;^{ [17] } from a deeper perspective, however, conservation of momentum is the more fundamental idea (derived via Noether's theorem from Galilean invariance), and holds in cases where Newton's third law appears to fail, for instance when force fields as well as particles carry momentum, and in quantum mechanics.

The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle had the view that all objects have a natural place in the universe: that heavy objects (such as rocks) wanted to be at rest on the Earth and that light objects like smoke wanted to be at rest in the sky and the stars wanted to remain in the heavens. He thought that a body was in its natural state when it was at rest, and for the body to move in a straight line at a constant speed an external agent was needed continually to propel it, otherwise it would stop moving. Galileo Galilei, however, realised that a force is necessary to change the velocity of a body, i.e., acceleration, but no force is needed to maintain its velocity. In other words, Galileo stated that, in the *absence* of a force, a moving object will continue moving. (The tendency of objects to resist changes in motion was what Johannes Kepler had called *inertia*.) This insight was refined by Newton, who made it into his first law, also known as the "law of inertia"—no force means no acceleration, and hence the body will maintain its velocity. As Newton's first law is a restatement of the law of inertia which Galileo had already described, Newton appropriately gave credit to Galileo.

Newton's laws were verified by experiment and observation for over 200 years, and they are excellent approximations at the scales and speeds of everyday life. Newton's laws of motion, together with his law of universal gravitation and the mathematical techniques of calculus, provided for the first time a unified quantitative explanation for a wide range of physical phenomena. For example, in the third volume of the *Principia*, Newton showed that his laws of motion, combined with the law of universal gravitation, explained Kepler's laws of planetary motion.

Newton's laws are applied to bodies which are idealised as single point masses,^{ [18] } in the sense that the size and shape of the body are neglected to focus on its motion more easily. This can be done when the line of action of the resultant of all the external forces acts through the center of mass of the body. In this way, even a planet can be idealised as a particle for analysis of its orbital motion around a star.

In their original form, Newton's laws of motion are not adequate to characterise the motion of rigid bodies and deformable bodies. Leonhard Euler in 1750 introduced a generalisation of Newton's laws of motion for rigid bodies called Euler's laws of motion, later applied as well for deformable bodies assumed as a continuum. If a body is represented as an assemblage of discrete particles, each governed by Newton's laws of motion, then Euler's laws can be derived from Newton's laws. Euler's laws can, however, be taken as axioms describing the laws of motion for extended bodies, independently of any particle structure.^{ [19] }

Newton's laws hold only with respect to a certain set of frames of reference called Newtonian or inertial reference frames. Some authors interpret the first law as defining what an inertial reference frame is; from this point of view, the second law holds only when the observation is made from an inertial reference frame, and therefore the first law cannot be proved as a special case of the second. Other authors do treat the first law as a corollary of the second.^{ [20] }^{ [21] } The explicit concept of an inertial frame of reference was not developed until long after Newton's death.

These three laws hold to a good approximation for macroscopic objects under everyday conditions. However, Newton's laws (combined with universal gravitation and classical electrodynamics) are inappropriate for use in certain circumstances, most notably at very small scales, at very high speeds, or in very strong gravitational fields. Therefore, the laws cannot be used to explain phenomena such as conduction of electricity in a semiconductor, optical properties of substances, errors in non-relativistically corrected GPS systems and superconductivity. Explanation of these phenomena requires more sophisticated physical theories, including general relativity and quantum field theory.

In special relativity, the second law holds in the original form **F** = d**p**/d*t*, where **F** and **p** are four-vectors. Special relativity reduces to Newtonian mechanics when the speeds involved are much less than the speed of light.

Some also describe a **fourth law** that is assumed but was never stated by Newton, which states that forces add like vectors, that is, that forces obey the principle of superposition.^{ [22] }^{ [23] }^{ [24] }

In mechanics, **acceleration** is the rate of change of the velocity of an object with respect to time. Accelerations are vector quantities. The orientation of an object's acceleration is given by the orientation of the *net* force acting on that object. The magnitude of an object's acceleration, as described by Newton's Second Law, is the combined effect of two causes:

A **centripetal force** is a force that makes a body follow a curved path. Its direction is always orthogonal to the motion of the body and towards the fixed point of the instantaneous center of curvature of the path. Isaac Newton described it as "a force by which bodies are drawn or impelled, or in any way tend, towards a point as to a centre". In Newtonian mechanics, gravity provides the centripetal force causing astronomical orbits.

In physics, a **force** is any influence that, when unopposed, will change the motion of an object. A force can cause an object with mass to change its velocity, i.e., to accelerate. Force can also be described intuitively as a push or a pull. A force has both magnitude and direction, making it a vector quantity. It is measured in the SI unit of newton (N). Force is represented by the symbol **F**.

**Mass** is both a property of a physical body and a measure of its resistance to acceleration when a net force is applied. An object's mass also determines the strength of its gravitational attraction to other bodies.

In Newtonian mechanics, **linear momentum**, **translational momentum**, or simply **momentum** is the product of the mass and velocity of an object. It is a vector quantity, possessing a magnitude and a direction. If *m* is an object's mass and **v** is its velocity, then the object's momentum is

In mechanics and physics, **simple harmonic motion** is a special type of periodic motion where the restoring force on the moving object is directly proportional to the object's displacement magnitude and acts towards the object's equilibrium position. It results in an oscillation which, if uninhibited by friction or any other dissipation of energy, continues indefinitely.

In physics and mechanics, **torque** is the rotational equivalent of linear force. It is also referred to as the **moment**, **moment of force**, **rotational force** or **turning effect**, depending on the field of study. The concept originated with the studies by Archimedes of the usage of levers. Just as a linear force is a push or a pull, a torque can be thought of as a twist to an object around a specific axis. Another definition of torque is the product of the magnitude of the force and the perpendicular distance of the line of action of a force from the axis of rotation. The symbol for torque is typically or **τ**, the lowercase Greek letter *tau*. When being referred to as moment of force, it is commonly denoted by M.

In physics, **equations of motion** are equations that describe the behavior of a physical system in terms of its motion as a function of time. More specifically, the equations of motion describe the behavior of a physical system as a set of mathematical functions in terms of dynamic variables. These variables are usually spatial coordinates and time, but may include momentum components. The most general choice are generalized coordinates which can be any convenient variables characteristic of the physical system. The functions are defined in a Euclidean space in classical mechanics, but are replaced by curved spaces in relativity. If the dynamics of a system is known, the equations are the solutions for the differential equations describing the motion of the dynamics.

In physics, **work** is the energy transferred to or from an object via the application of force along a displacement. In its simplest form, it is often represented as the product of force and displacement. A force is said to do positive work if it has a component in the direction of the displacement of the point of application. A force does negative work if it has a component opposite to the direction of the displacement at the point of application of the force.

In physics, a **gravitational field** is a model used to explain the influences that a massive body extends into the space around itself, producing a force on another massive body. Thus, a gravitational field is used to explain gravitational phenomena, and is measured in newtons per kilogram (N/kg). In its original concept, gravity was a force between point masses. Following Isaac Newton, Pierre-Simon Laplace attempted to model gravity as some kind of radiation field or fluid, and since the 19th century, explanations for gravity have usually been taught in terms of a field model, rather than a point attraction.

In the physical science of dynamics, **rigid-body dynamics** studies the movement of systems of interconnected bodies under the action of external forces. The assumption that the bodies are *rigid* simplifies analysis, by reducing the parameters that describe the configuration of the system to the translation and rotation of reference frames attached to each body. This excludes bodies that display fluid, highly elastic, and plastic behavior.

A **fictitious force** is a force that appears to act on a mass whose motion is described using a non-inertial frame of reference, such as an accelerating or rotating reference frame. An example is seen in a passenger vehicle that is accelerating in the forward direction – passengers perceive that they are acted upon by a force in the rearward direction pushing them back into their seats. An example in a rotating reference frame is the force that appears to push objects outwards towards the rim of a centrifuge. These apparent forces are examples of fictitious forces.

A **rotating frame of reference** is a special case of a non-inertial reference frame that is rotating relative to an inertial reference frame. An everyday example of a rotating reference frame is the surface of the Earth.

In fluid mechanics, **added mass** or **virtual mass** is the inertia added to a system because an accelerating or decelerating body must move some volume of surrounding fluid as it moves through it. Added mass is a common issue because the object and surrounding fluid cannot occupy the same physical space simultaneously. For simplicity this can be modeled as some volume of fluid moving with the object, though in reality "all" the fluid will be accelerated, to various degrees.

In Newtonian mechanics, the **centrifugal force** is an inertial force that appears to act on all objects when viewed in a rotating frame of reference. It is directed away from an axis which is parallel to the axis of rotation and passing through the coordinate system's origin. If the axis of rotation passes through the coordinate system's origin, the centrifugal force is directed radially outwards from that axis. The magnitude of centrifugal force *F* on an object of mass *m* at the distance *r* from the origin of a frame of reference rotating with angular velocity *ω* is:

**Classical mechanics** is a physical theory describing the motion of macroscopic objects, from projectiles to parts of machinery, and astronomical objects, such as spacecraft, planets, stars, and galaxies. For objects governed by classical mechanics, if the present state is known, it is possible to predict how it will move in the future (determinism), and how it has moved in the past (reversibility).

In classical mechanics, **Euler's laws of motion** are equations of motion which extend Newton's laws of motion for point particle to rigid body motion. They were formulated by Leonhard Euler about 50 years after Isaac Newton formulated his laws.

Introduced by the Italian-French mathematician and astronomer Joseph-Louis Lagrange in 1788, **Lagrangian mechanics** is a formulation of classical mechanics and is founded on the stationary action principle.

In mechanics, a **variable-mass system** is a collection of matter whose mass varies with time. It can be confusing to try to apply Newton's second law of motion directly to such a system. Instead, the time dependence of the mass *m* can be calculated by rearranging Newton's second law and adding a term to account for the momentum carried by mass entering or leaving the system. The general equation of variable-mass motion is written as

- ↑ Browne, Michael E. (July 1999).
*Schaum's outline of theory and problems of physics for engineering and science*(Series: Schaum's Outline Series). McGraw-Hill Companies. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-07-008498-8. - ↑ See the
*Principia*on line at Andrew Motte Translation - ↑ "Axioms, or Laws of Motion".
*gravitee.tripod.com*. Retrieved 14 February 2021. - ↑ Thornton, Marion (2004).
*Classical dynamics of particles and systems*(5th ed.). Brooks/Cole. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-534-40896-1. - ↑ Landau, L.D.; Akhiezer, A.I.; Lifshitz, A.M. (1967).
*General Physics; mechanics and molecular physics*(First English ed.). Oxford: Pergamon Press. ISBN 978-0-08-003304-4. Translated by: J.B. Sykes, A.D. Petford, and C.L. Petford. LCCN 67--30260. In section 7, pp. 12–14, this book defines force as*dp/dt*. - ↑ Kibble, Tom W.B.; Berkshire, Frank H. (2004).
*Classical Mechanics*(Fifth ed.). London: Imperial College Press. ISBN 1860944248. According to page 12, "[Force] can of course be introduced, by defining it through Newton's second law". - ↑ de Lange, O. L.; Pierrus, J. (2010).
*Solved Problems in Classical Mechanics*(First ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-958252-5. According to page 3, "[Newton's second law of motion] can be regarded as defining force". - ↑ Feynman Vol. 1
- ↑ Kleppner & Kolenkow 2010
- 1 2 Plastino, Angel R.; Muzzio, Juan C. (1992). "On the use and abuse of Newton's second law for variable mass problems".
*Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy*.**53**(3): 227–232. Bibcode:1992CeMDA..53..227P. doi:10.1007/BF00052611. ISSN 0923-2958. S2CID 122212239. "We may conclude emphasizing that Newton's second law is valid for constant mass only. When the mass varies due to accretion or ablation, [an alternate equation explicitly accounting for the changing mass] should be used." - 1 2 Halliday; Resnick.
*Physics*.**1**. p. 199. ISBN 978-0-471-03710-1.It is important to note that we

[Emphasis as in the original]*cannot*derive a general expression for Newton's second law for variable mass systems by treating the mass in**F**= d**P**/d*t*= d(*M***v**) as a*variable*. [...] We*can*use**F**= d**P**/d*t*to analyze variable mass systems*only*if we apply it to an*entire system of constant mass*, having parts among which there is an interchange of mass. - 1 2 Kleppner, Daniel; Kolenkow, Robert (1973).
*An Introduction to Mechanics*. McGraw-Hill. pp. 133–134. ISBN 978-0-07-035048-9 – via archive.org.Recall that

**F**= d**P**/d*t*was established for a system composed of a certain set of particles[. ... I]t is essential to deal with the same set of particles throughout the time interval[. ...] Consequently, the mass of the system can not change during the time of interest. - 1 2 Resnick; Halliday; Krane (1992).
*Physics, Volume 1*(4th ed.). p. 83. - ↑ C Hellingman (1992). "Newton's third law revisited".
*Phys. Educ*.**27**(2): 112–115. Bibcode:1992PhyEd..27..112H. doi:10.1088/0031-9120/27/2/011.Quoting Newton in the

*Principia*: It is not one action by which the Sun attracts Jupiter, and another by which Jupiter attracts the Sun; but it is one action by which the Sun and Jupiter mutually endeavour to come nearer together. - ↑ Resnick & Halliday (1977).
*Physics*(Third ed.). John Wiley & Sons. pp. 78–79.Any single force is only one aspect of a mutual interaction between

*two*bodies. - ↑ Hewitt (2006), p. 75
- ↑ Newton,
*Principia*, Corollary III to the laws of motion - ↑ Truesdell, Clifford A.; Becchi, Antonio; Benvenuto, Edoardo (2003).
*Essays on the history of mechanics: in memory of Clifford Ambrose Truesdell and Edoardo Benvenuto*. New York: Birkhäuser. p. 207. ISBN 978-3-7643-1476-7.[...] while Newton had used the word 'body' vaguely and in at least three different meanings, Euler realized that the statements of Newton are generally correct only when applied to masses concentrated at isolated points;

- ↑ Lubliner, Jacob (2008).
*Plasticity Theory*(PDF) (Revised ed.). Dover Publications. ISBN 978-0-486-46290-5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 March 2010. - ↑ Galili, I.; Tseitlin, M. (2003). "Newton's First Law: Text, Translations, Interpretations and Physics Education".
*Science & Education*.**12**(1): 45–73. Bibcode:2003Sc&Ed..12...45G. doi:10.1023/A:1022632600805. S2CID 118508770. - ↑ Benjamin Crowell (2001). "4. Force and Motion".
*Newtonian Physics*. ISBN 978-0-9704670-1-0. - ↑ Greiner, Walter (2003).
*Classical mechanics: point particles and relativity*. New York: Springer. ISBN 978-0-387-21851-9. - ↑ Zeidler, E. (1988).
*Nonlinear Functional Analysis and its Applications IV: Applications to Mathematical Physics*. New York: Springer. ISBN 978-1-4612-4566-7. - ↑ Wachter, Armin; Hoeber, Henning (2006).
*Compendium of theoretical physics*. New York: Springer. ISBN 978-0-387-25799-0.

- Crowell, Benjamin (2011).
*Light and Matter*. Section*4.2, Newton's First Law*, Section*4.3, Newton's Second Law*, and Section*5.1, Newton's Third Law*. - Feynman, R. P.; Leighton, R. B.; Sands, M. (2005).
*The Feynman Lectures on Physics*. Vol. 1 (2nd ed.). Pearson/Addison-Wesley. ISBN 978-0-8053-9049-0.`|volume=`

has extra text (help) - Fowles, G. R.; Cassiday, G. L. (1999).
*Analytical Mechanics*(6th ed.). Saunders College Publishing. ISBN 978-0-03-022317-4. - Likins, Peter W. (1973).
*Elements of Engineering Mechanics*. McGraw-Hill Book Company. ISBN 978-0-07-037852-0. - Marion, Jerry; Thornton, Stephen (1995).
*Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems*. Harcourt College Publishers. ISBN 978-0-03-097302-4. - Woodhouse, N. M. J. (2003).
*Special Relativity*. London/Berlin: Springer. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-85233-426-0.

- Historical

For explanations of Newton's laws of motion by Newton in the early 18th century and by the physicist William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) in the mid-19th century, see the following:

- Newton, Isaac. "Axioms or Laws of Motion".
*Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy*. 1, containing Book 1 (1729 English translation based on 3rd Latin edition (1726) ed.). p. 19. - Newton, Isaac. "Axioms or Laws of Motion".
*Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy*. 2, containing Books 2 & 3 (1729 English translation based on 3rd Latin edition (1726) ed.). p. 19. - Thomson, W.; Tait, P. G. (1867). "242,
*Newton's laws of motion*".*Treatise on natural philosophy*.**1**.

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Newton's laws of motion . |

- MIT Physics video lecture on Newton's three laws
- Simulation on Newton's first law of motion
- "Newton's Second Law" by Enrique Zeleny, Wolfram Demonstrations Project.
- Newton's 3rd Law demonstrated in a vacuum on YouTube
- The Laws of Motion, BBC Radio 4 discussion with Simon Schaffer, Raymond Flood & Rob Iliffe (
*In Our Time*, 3 April 2008)

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