Video: Unbalanced Forces

Three demolition workers push on a wall. The workers push with forces of 80 N, 50 N, and 60 N on the same side of the wall, parallel to each other. What is the total force acting on the wall?

01:29

Video Transcript

Three demolition workers push on a wall. The workers push with forces of 80 newtons, 50 newtons, and 60 newtons on the same side of the wall, parallel to each other. What is the total force acting on the wall?

Okay, first things first, let’s draw a diagram to help us visualize what’s going on. So here’s a top-down view of the wall. We’re looking at it from above. And here’re the three workers pushing against the wall. Obviously, they’ve got their hard hats on for safety.

Now we’ve been told that each one of them is pushing with a different force. Specifically, one of them is pushing with 80 newtons. The second is pushing with 50 newtons. And the third is pushing with 60 newtons. Now the reason that we’ve drawn the forces this way is because they’re pushing firstly on the same side of the wall. So they’re pushing on the left-hand side of the wall towards the right. And the forces are parallel to each other. So in this case, we’ve all drawn them pointing towards the right.

Now what we’ve been asked to do is to find the total force acting on the wall. This is made much easier by the fact that all of these forces are parallel because this means that the net force or the total force acting on the wall is going to be towards the right. And it’s going to be a sum of all the three forces. In other words, this force acting towards the right is equal to 80 newtons plus 50 newtons plus 60 newtons. And when we evaluate this, we find that this force is equal to 190 newtons. And so our final answer is that the total force acting on the wall is 190 newtons.

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