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Question 12

According to the third law of motion when we push on an object, the object pushes back on us with an equal and opposite force. If the object is a massive truck parked along the roadside, it will probably not move. A student justifies this by answering that the two opposite and equal forces cancel each other. Comment on this logic and explain why the truck does not move.

Answer

Because of the huge mass of the truck, the force of static friction is very high. To move the car / truck, one has to apply a force more than the static friction. Therefore, when someone pushes the truck and the truck does not move, then it can be said that the applied force in one direction is cancelled out by the frictional force of equal amount acting in the opposite direction. Hence , the rationale given by the students is correct.

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