How to Calculate Force: 6 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow (2024)

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1Learning the Formula

2Using the Formula

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Reviewed byGrace Imson, MA

Last Updated: January 29, 2024Fact Checked

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Force is the "push" or "pull" exerted on an object to make it move or accelerate. Newton's second law of motion describes how force is related to mass and acceleration, and this relationship is used to calculate force. In general, the greater the mass of the object, the greater the force needed to move that object.[1]

Part 1

Part 1 of 2:

Learning the Formula

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  1. 1

    Multiply mass times acceleration. The force (F) required to move an object of mass (m) with an acceleration (a) is given by the formula F = m x a. So, force = mass multiplied by acceleration.[2]

  2. 2

    Convert figures to their SI values. The International System of Units (SI) unit of mass is the kilogram, and the SI unit of acceleration is m/s2 (meters per second squared). So when mass and acceleration are expressed in their SI units, we get the force in its SI units which is N (Newtons).[3]

    • As an example, if the mass of the object is given to be 3 pounds, you'll need to convert those pounds to kilograms. 3 pounds make 1.36 kg, so the mass of the object is 1.36 kg.

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  3. 3

    Keep in mind that weight and mass mean different things in Physics. If the weight of an object is given in N (Newtons), then divide it by 9.8 to get the equivalent mass. For example, 10 N weight is equivalent to 10/9.8 = 1.02 kg.[4]

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Part 2

Part 2 of 2:

Using the Formula

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  1. 1

    Find the force that is required to accelerate a 1,000 kg car at 5 m/s2.

    • Check to make sure all your values are in the correct SI unit.
    • Multiply your acceleration value (1000 kg) by 5 m/s2 to calculate your value.
  2. 2

    Calculate the force required for an 8 pound wagon to accelerate at 7 m/s2.

    • First, convert all your units to SI. One pound is equal to .453 kg,[5] so you'll need to multiply that value by your 8 pounds to determine the mass.
    • Multiply your new value for the mass (3.62 kg) by your acceleration value (7 m/s2).
  3. 3

    Find the magnitude of force acting upon a cart weighing 100 N and accelerating at the rate of 2.5 m/s2.

    • Remember, 9.80 N is equal to 1.00 kg.[6] So, convert Newtons to kg by dividing by 9.8 kg. Your new kg value should be 10.2 kg for the mass.
    • Multiply your new mass value (10.2 kg) times the acceleration (2.5 m/s2).
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  • Question

    How do I change Newtons into mass?

    How to Calculate Force: 6 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow (11)

    Tiagoroth

    Community Answer

    The formula for force is force = mass * acceleration. To find mass, simply divide the force by the acceleration.

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  • Question

    Is force the same as weight?

    How to Calculate Force: 6 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow (12)

    Community Answer

    Weight is a force. When a force is due to gravity, it can be called "weight". "Weight" is only a human distinction for a specific case.

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  • Question

    What is the acceleration of a 130 kg object push by a man with 650 newtons of force?

    How to Calculate Force: 6 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow (13)

    Community Answer

    You will need to know the formula of acceleration, once you know that. You can easily get the acceleration. So by using this formula, you can figure out what acceleration. It is simply just Algebra in this case.Formula:f/m=a

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      Tips

      • The definition of a Newton, the standard unit of force, is N = kg * m/s^2.[7]

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      • Always read a question carefully to determine whether weight or mass is given.

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      • Check to be sure all numbers have been converted to kilograms and m/s^2.

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      Tips from our Readers How to Calculate Force: 6 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow (14)

      The advice in this section is based on the lived experiences of wikiHow readers like you. If you have a helpful tip you’d like to share on wikiHow, please submit it in the field below.

      • When you're answering math or physics questions, make sure that you read the prompt and equation carefully. I've seen so many people get tripped up just because they misunderstood the question.
      • Make sure you don't mix up weight and mass. The two variables seem like they'd be the same thing but they aren't.

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      About This Article

      How to Calculate Force: 6 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow (30)

      Reviewed by:

      Grace Imson, MA

      Math Teacher

      This article was reviewed by Grace Imson, MA. Grace Imson is a math teacher with over 40 years of teaching experience. Grace is currently a math instructor at the City College of San Francisco and was previously in the Math Department at Saint Louis University. She has taught math at the elementary, middle, high school, and college levels. She has an MA in Education, specializing in Administration and Supervision from Saint Louis University. This article has been viewed 1,583,199 times.

      28 votes - 56%

      Co-authors: 32

      Updated: January 29, 2024

      Views:1,583,199

      Categories: Classical Mechanics

      Article SummaryX

      To calculate force, use the formula force equals mass times acceleration, or F = m × a. Make sure that the mass measurement you’re using is in kilograms and the acceleration is in meters over seconds squared. When you’ve solved the equation, the force will be measured in Newtons. Now, simply plug the values you know into the equation and solve. If you need to find acceleration, find the difference between the start and final velocity and divide them by the time difference. If you want to learn how to convert weights to mass for your equation, keep reading the article!

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