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Question

Action and reaction forces do not balance each other. Why?


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Solution

There is no denying the fact that the action and reaction forces do not balance each other and the reason for the same can be discussed below.

  1. The basic criteria for calling two forces “balanced” is that the two forces must be equal in magnitude, opposite in direction and must act on the same body.
  2. There is no change in the inertia of a body when balanced forces act on it.
  3. Action and reaction forces are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction but they don't act on the same body.
  4. Since the action and reaction forces act on two different bodies, therefore action and reaction forces cannot balance each other.
  5. On dropping a plastic ball on the ground with some appreciable velocity, the ball exerts an action force on the ground.
  6. The ground in turn exerts a reaction force on the ball which causes the ball to bounce.
  7. The direction of the action force is downwards and the direction of the reaction force is upwards.
  8. Clearly, the action and reaction forces act on two different bodies in the opposite direction.
  9. If the action and reaction forces could balance each other, then from pure coherent logic, the ball should not have bounced on hitting the ground.
  10. Below is the diagram depicting the direction of action force and reaction force acting on the ground and the ball respectively.


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