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Third Law of Motion

Newton’s Third Law of Motion

Newton's third law of motion states that, "For every action, there will be an equal and opposite reaction".


Newton's third law is true when the interacting bodies are in physical contact or the bodies act upon each other from a distance.


Illustrations of Newton's Third Law of Motion

1. A bullet fired from a rifle receives a forward force from the rifle (action) and in turn exerts backward force on the rifle (reaction) causing the rifle to recoil.

2. When a person swims, he pushes the water backwards (action) and the water pushes him forwards (reaction).



3. When a man jumps from a boat floating in water (action) the boat moves away from him (reaction).

4. We are able to walk because our feet exert a backward push on the ground (action). The ground in turn exerts a forward push (reaction) on our feet to make us move forward.

5. Consider the flying motion of birds. A bird flies by using its wings. The wings of a bird push air downwards. In turn, the air reacts by pushing the bird upwards. The size of the force on the air equals the size of the force on the bird; the direction of the force on the air (downwards) is opposite the direction of the force on the bird (upwards). For every action, there is an equal (in size) and opposite (in direction) reaction. Action-reaction force pairs make it possible for birds to fly.



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