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Topic – Contact and Non-Contact Forces

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Read the Following Selection

Read about contact and non-contact forces, or click on the play button below to listen aloud.

Contact and Non-Contact Forces

What Is Contact?

When two things touch each other, we say they are in contact with each other.
When your hand touches a book, it contacts the book.

Contact Forces

Some forces work through contact. You use muscular force to push and pull objects. To push a toy car across a table, you need to contact the toy car. Muscular force is a contact force. To push or pull an object with your muscles, you need to have contact with the object.

Friction is another contact force. Friction happens when two objects rub together. The two objects must be in contact with each other. If there is no contact between the objects, there is no friction.

Non-contact Forces

Some forces can work without contact. If you hold a magnet near a pin, the pin will move toward the magnet. Magnetic force makes the pin move, but the magnet is not touching the pin. There is no contact. Magnetic force can work even when there is no contact between objects.

Forces that can work without contact are called non-contact forces. These forces can work when there is distance between the objects.

Gravity is another non-contact force. Gravity pulls objects toward Earth. Snowflakes fall to the ground because gravity pulls them down.


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