What is the difference between force and net force and how we can calculate both?


A force is a result of a push or pulls on an object while interacting with another object by an external force. On the other hand if both the object are locked down in a place and there is no external force it means then there is no experience of force to be seen.

Force or forces only occur when an external interaction happens on any-body.

According to Newton’s 1st law

“An Object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”

With that being said it’s very clear that an object moving in a direction at some speed will only stop or change its direction or speed if any external force pushes or pulls it in any direction.

In real life

In our daily life whenever we push or pull an object we use force.

Every time you push or pull an object or use the force you are also releasing energy.

This energy released is in ——–> (N) Newtons

For example

If a Mathew is pushing a car they are putting force on the car and releasing energy, this can be said as Mathew uses a force of 8 Newton or 8 N to push a car.  

How to calculate Force

Force is denoted by Newton (N)

And it can be stated as

1 Newton= 1 kg . m/s2

Force is a vector quantity hence it’s calculated with a magnitude and a direction but simply saying as 5 N is not right.

According to its nature, it should be 5 N as a magnitude and direction upwards, so it will be stated as a force acting on an object is 5 N upwards.

Types of forces

There are generally two broad types of forces that can be categorized as:

1.    Contact forces

These types of forces occur when two different bodies interact with each other physically.

Few examples are Spring force, Tension force, Air resistance force, frictional force and etc.

2.    An external force resulting from the action at a distance

These types of forces occur when two or more bodies interacting are not physically contacting with each other, but still are able to experience a push or pull despite their physical distancing.

Few examples are Electrical force, Gravitational force Magnetic force and etc.

Now to make you understand better let us unleash these examples one by one

  • Spring Force (F spring)

This type of force is exerted by a stretched or compressed spring upon any object that is attached to it.

Similarly, an object that compresses or stretches a spring happens when a force is applied upon it that restores the object to its resting position or equilibrium position.

  • Tension Force (F tense)

This type of force occurs usually on a rope, cable, or any wire where forces are acted from both opposing ends.

On top of it when a wire is pulled the tension force is transmitted as much as the length of the wire is and the force is equally distributed on both ends of objects pulling it.

  • Air Resistance (F air)

It’s a special type of frictional force that occurs when objects are moving in the air like an airplane, skydiver and etc.  

  • Gravity Force (F grav)

Another name for this force is weight and certainly, every object has some weight.

The force of gravity is a common force by which other objects are attracted towards the moon or earth or towards their own weight.

  • Applied Force (F app)

This type of force usually occurs when two bodies interact with each other like when a human being pulls a draw so the force exerted upon the draw is the applied force by the human being.

  • Magnetic force (F)

Electrical charged particles already in a motion either attract or repel due to a force is called the magnetic force, this force mostly occurs in between electric motors and magnets looking for iron.

Now let’s see what is a Net Force?

Net force

Whenever more than one forces acts upon an object no matter what the direction is, this amount of force being applied on the object from both sides is called a Net force.

Another name for this force is the resultant force.

For example

A rope is pulled by James from one side and from the other side Thomas pulls the rope, so it means the force is applied from both the sides on a rope, this pulling force from both the sides is called Net force.

How to calculate the Net force

Now to find the Net force on an object, you need to add or subtract the 2 forces

If two persons like James and Thomas pull the rope in an opposing direction then you need to subtract the forces.

For an instance let’s assume James is pulling the rope with a 5 N and Thomas is pulling the rope with 10 N so in this case, you can calculate it as

Net force = Bigger force – smaller force


Fnet = 10 N – 5 N

As a result, the Net force acting upon is 5 N.

And if James and Thomas pull the rope in the same direction then you need to add the forces.

While in the same direction, you need to add them together like

Fnet = 10 N + 5 N

As a result, the Net force acting upon is 15 N.

Thus we can calculate the Net force by adding or subtracting the forces while looking at their force directions.

Net force calculator

To make it easier students, teachers, or people from different backgrounds looking to find the Net force can use an online Net force calculator to find it instantly without doing the mathematics.

Although there are various online calculators this Net force calculator is the best choice due to its accuracy and time-saving efficiency.

There is no need for any subscription or any prior email set up to use this calculator simple go to the online calculator site and add in the values like mass and acceleration and it will show the resultant force.

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