Authors: Guido F. Nelissen
The concept of the ‘force’ as the vector product of mass times acceleration, finds its origin in Newton’s second law of motion and is the fundamental concept of classical physics, since it is the basis of the other fundamental notions such as ‘work’ and ‘energy’. The problem is that this classic concept of a force covers a wide variety of phenomena, which blurs its true nature. In this paper the author analyses the physical nature of the impulsive force exerted between colliding bodies and of the repetitive impulsive forces, such as the tensile force on a rigid wall and the driving force on a free body. This allows him to define ‘force’ in a general way as the rate at which linear momentum flows, which is a mathematical expression of the transfer rate of congruent translational motion from one body to another. In the light of the particle nature of matter, this means that the ‘force’ exerted between two particle systems can be expressed as the transfer of congruent translational motion per impulse, times the impulse frequency. This demonstrates that ‘force’ has fundamentally a dynamic character, and that there are no such things as ‘static’ forces.
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