What is the difference between Balanced and Unbalanced Forces?

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.

But how are balanced and unbalanced forces different?

Forces have a magnitude and a direction.

Balanced forces will cause no change in the speed of an object.

Balanced forces acting on an object in opposite directions and equal in strength, as shown in the arrows below, do not cause a change in the speed of a moving object.

Objects that are not moving will not start moving if acted on by balanced forces.

Remember Forces have a magnitude and a direction

Unbalanced forces are not equal, and they cause the motion of an object to change

When two unbalanced forces are exerted in opposite directions, their combined force is equal to the difference between the two forces.

The magnitude and direction of the net force affects the resulting motion

This combined force is exerted in the direction of the larger force

Let’s look at several examples

The forces acting on the red pool balls are equal. The downward force of gravity is equal to the resistance force of the pool table.

When the white ball strikes the red balls the forces are unbalanced and they move in the direction of the force.

The forces are balanced on the weights. The downward force of gravity is equal to the resistance force of the yellow rack. The weights do not move. The weight lifter exerts an unbalanced force upward and the weights move in that direction.

The forces on the tennis balls are equal. They are not moving. The tennis balls are struck by an unbalanced force and it causes them to move.

The resistance force of the car is balanced with the downward force of gravity. The car jack exerts an unbalanced force on the car and the car moves in the direction of the force.

The car is at rest and all forces are balanced. When the car strikes the car at rest then the forces are unbalanced and the car moves in the direction of the force.

Forces have a magnitude and a direction.

Balanced forces will cause no change in the speed of an object.

Balanced forces acting on an object in opposite directions and equal in strength, as shown in the arrows below, do not cause a change in the speed of a moving object.

Objects that are not moving will not start moving if acted on by balanced forces.

Remember Forces have a magnitude and a direction

Unbalanced forces are not equal, and they cause the motion of an object to change

When two unbalanced forces are exerted in opposite directions, their combined force is equal to the difference between the two forces.

The magnitude and direction of the net force affects the resulting motion

This combined force is exerted in the direction of the larger force

Let’s look at several examples

The forces acting on the red pool balls are equal. The downward force of gravity is equal to the resistance force of the pool table.

When the white ball strikes the red balls the forces are unbalanced and they move in the direction of the force.

The forces are balanced on the weights. The downward force of gravity is equal to the resistance force of the yellow rack. The weights do not move. The weight lifter exerts an unbalanced force upward and the weights move in that direction.

The forces on the tennis balls are equal. They are not moving. The tennis balls are struck by an unbalanced force and it causes them to move.

The resistance force of the car is balanced with the downward force of gravity. The car jack exerts an unbalanced force on the car and the car moves in the direction of the force.

The car is at rest and all forces are balanced. When the car strikes the car at rest then the forces are unbalanced and the car moves in the direction of the force.

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