Applying Newton’s laws

Practically the whole of the rest of this book is about applying Newton’s laws of motion. Here, we’ll just establish the method, build a couple of helper classes, and illustrate their application with some simple examples.

General method for applying F = ma

To analyze a problem for applying F = ma, use the following procedure:

Draw a diagram representing the interacting objects in the problem.

Choose the object whose motion is to be calculated and indicate using arrows all the forces acting on it due to other objects. Ignore the forces exerted by the object on other objects. This gives you a force diagram, as described in Chapter 4.

Calculate the resultant force F on the object (using vector addition, as described in ...

Get The Essential Guide to Physics for Flash Games, Animation, and Simulations now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.