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What is the Difference Between Torque and Force? Definitions and Formulas

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Difference between Torque and Force (2)

The major difference between torque and force is that Torque is the movement in circular motion whereas Force is movement in linear motion. Torque and Force are fundamental concepts in physics (the field of mechanics) that deal with how objects move. Force is a “push or pull” that gets objects moving in a straight line (Linear motion) like pushing a box. Torque is the specific result of a force acting on an object to make it rotate around an axis like rotating a door handle – the force you use makes torque, which rotates the door handle. 

Torque and Force are measured in different units. Torque is measured in Newton-meters (Nm), while force is measured in Newton’s (N).

Keep reading this blog to get hands-on information about these two concepts along with their application in real life, and formulas in physics.

What is Torque?

A torque is a rotational force that can make an object rotate around an axis. It’s essentially the rotational equivalent of linear force, which makes objects accelerate in a straight line. The amount of torque depends on two things, The First one is the force applied and the second one is the distance from the axis of rotation where the force is applied. 

The force needs to act in a direction perpendicular to the axis of rotation to be most effective in creating torque. A force pushing directly along the axis won’t cause much turning.

Here’s an Equation for Calculating Torque:

Torque (τ) = F x r x sin(θ)
  • T = torque
  • F = force applied
  • r = distance from the axis of rotation (lever arm)
  • Theta (θ) = Angle between the force and the lever arm (ideally 90 degrees for maximum torque)

Torque is a fundamental concept in many areas of mechanics, from engines and gears to leavers and hinges. By understanding torque, you can know how forces can be used to create rotational motion and control the turning of objects.

What is Force?

In Physics, force is an effect that can change the state of motion of an object. It’s a push or pulls on an object that can make it start moving, stops moving, change direction, or accelerate (speed up). The key point to remember is that force causes an object to accelerate. Acceleration is the change in an object’s velocity (speed and direction) over time. 

Force is a vector quantity, meaning it has both magnitude and direction. The SI unit of force is the Newton (N). One Newton is the force required to accelerate a mass of one kilogram by one meter per second squared (1 kg x m/s²)

Here’s an Equation for Calculating Force:

Force (F) = m x a
  • M = Mass
  • A = Acceleration

Also Read: What is the Difference Between Density and Weight?

What is the Difference Between Torque and Force?

Here is the table summarizing the difference between torque and force.

ParticularTorqueForce
DefinitionRotational force acting around an axis.Push or pull acting on an object.
UnitsNewton-meters (Nm)Newtons (N)
Symbolτ (tau)F
EffectCauses objects to rotate or twist.Causes objects to move or accelerate.
RepresentationVector quantityVector quantity
Formulaτ = r x F x sin(θ)F = m x a
ExampleTwisting a screwdriverPushing a box across the floor

Difference Between Torque and Force Formulas

Here are the formulas for torque and force:

Torque (τ)

Formulae- τ = F x r x sin(θ)

Terms

τ (tau) is the torque (in Newton-meter, Nm, or ft-lb)

F is the force applied (in Newtons, N or lbf)r is the distance from the axis of rotation (lever arm) in meters (m) or feet (ft)

θ (theta) is the angle between the force vector and the lever arm (in degrees)

Force (F)

Formula- F = m x a

Terms

F is the force applied (in Newtons, N or lbf)

m is the mass of the object (in kilograms, kg, or slugs

)a is the acceleration of the object (in meters per second squared, m/s² or ft/s²)

Application of Difference Between Torque and Force in Real Life

Here are some real-life applications of torque and force.

  • Kicking a ball: You exert force with your leg on the ball, which causes it to accelerate forward.
  • Lifting a book: You apply an upward force against gravity to lift the book.
  • Tightening a screw: When you turn a screwdriver, the force you apply creates torque that rotates the screw.
  • Opening a jar lid: Gripping the lid far from the centre (increasing the lever arm) and twisting creates more torque to break the seal.

Also Read: Difference Between Power and Exponent: Complete Details

FAQ’s

How is torque and force different?

Torque is the amount of work that is put into turning an object. Force is the push or pull that moves something in a straight line.

What is the relation between force and torque?

The relation between force and torque is τ = F x r x sin(θ).

Is every force a torque?

A force is not the same as a torque. A force is a single amount that acts in a certain way. A torque is made up of two forces that are equal and opposing each other.

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