Part of the IT standards and organizations glossary:

Force is an action that causes a free object with nonzero, finite mass to accelerate, relative to a non-accelerating frame of reference. Examples of force include the thrust of a rocket engine, the impetus that causes a car to speed up when you step on the accelerator, and the pull of gravity on your body. Force is the effect that produces the phenomenon of weight for objects with nonzero, finite mass .

The standard unit of force is the newton . One newton is equivalent to one kilogram-meter per second squared (kg · m/s 2 or kg · m · s -2 ). Alternatively, the dyne is sometimes used to express force; one dyne is equal to one gram-centimeter per second squared (g · cm/s 2 or g · cm · s -2 ). To convert from newtons to dynes, mulitiply by 100,000 (10 5 ). Conversely, multiply by 0.00001 (10 -5 ).

Force is defined in mechanical terms, but it can result from the action of electric fields, magnetic fields, thermal heating, particle bombardment, and various other phenomena. In all cases, force has the property of imparting acceleration to particles or objects. If an object is anchored so it cannot move, a force against it produces pressure.

Also see impulse , mass , newton , pressure , weight , SI (International System of Units), and Table of Physical Units .

This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

Glossaries

  • IT standards and organizations

    - Terms related to information technology (IT) standards, including definitions about IT organizations and words and phrases about policies and compliance.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.