You must have seen a broken down vehicle in your town or village. Assuming this car is to be taken to a nearby mechanic village, what do you think must be done to it? To make the broken down car move to the mechanic village, you have to push it or get a towing van to pull it to the mechanic village. The pushing or pulling of the car to the place is an application of force. It is force that is pushing or pulling the car. To make the car go faster, we push harder, that is, we apply greater force. Note that push and pull are examples of force.

What is Force?

Force can be defined as a physical phenomenon that is capable of causing, increasing, retarding and changing the direction of motion and can stop motion. It can also be defined as a measure of the mechanical action exerted on a particle or body by other bodies or fields.

Types of Forces

There are two types of forces, these are:

  • Contact forces
  • Non-contact forces

Contact Forces

A contact force exists between two or more surfaces when the force or source of the force is in contact with the object it is acting upon. For example, when people are pushing a car, they place their hands on the car and push.


Other examples include pull, frictional forces, reaction forces, tension forces and upthrust. More than one contact force can exist on a body. For example, a book placed on a table of weight W, is opposed by the reaction force R of the table. The pulling force F is counterpoised or counterbalanced by the frictional force acting between the table surface and the book.

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