non contact forcesexplain non contact forces

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In most cases, when one thing applies force to another, they are in contact.  My fingers contact the keyboard as I apply force to it.

But in some cases, there are forces that act without actually touching.  For example, the Earth exerts gravitational force on me even when I am not touching it.  If I jump up off the Earth, or if I am in an airplane in the atmosphere, the Earth still exerts this force on me.

Another example of such a force is magnetism.  Magnets can exert a force on other objects even without touching them.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
We see non-contact forces all the time. Gravitational pull is a non-contact force, and it does impact everything on Earth. Magnets also force things apart without directly contacting. Friction, on the other hand, is a contact force where the pull-push is caused by touching.

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