Non-Contact Force: Types, Examples & More

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what is non-contact force

In science, we know of the concept of force, a force can cause objects to move, change their direction or even stop moving altogether. We can call any pull or push that acts on an object as a force. Do you remember your childhood game of playing tug of war, where you had to pull the rope towards you to win? Well, it was this concept of force that was applied to make you win the game. Now, since you are familiar with the concept, let us today know about the types of forces. One of them is the non-contact force, and the the other is contact force. In this blog, we will further discuss what is non-contact force, its types and uses. 

What is Non-Contact Force?

In physics, how any object interacts with each other is widely studied. We often experience force when we see a push or a pull. These are known as contact forces, where a physical touch starts the interaction. For example – when you are playing on a seesaw, you physically force it to push and go higher. But there are other factors of force also that exist in the universe. They cannot be seen but are present. Non-contact forces are like their name – they are invisible forces that pushes or pulls and act on an object without physically touching it.

Non-contact forces can be further defined as – forces that exert an influence on an object without any direct physical contact. These invisible forces can attract, repel or even hold objects in place and play a role in various natural phenomena and technological advancements.

Also Read – Epsilon Naught Value: Definition, Formula & More

Non- Contact Forces Types

There are nearly 5 types of non-contact force, which are explained below – 

  1. Gravitational Forces
  2. Magnetic Forces
  3. Electromagnetic Forces
  4. Nuclear Forces
  5. Electrostatic Forces

Gravitational Forces 

This force is the most familiar non-contact force. Gravity is an invisible force that exerts a pulling force between any two objects with mass. The more the mass, the more the gravitational force. The strength of gravity depends on the masses of the interacting objects and the distance between them. This is the force that keeps your feet firmly planted on the ground and makes things fall down when you drop them. It is the reason we stay grounded on Earth and why planets orbit stars. 

For Example – This force is responsible for building roads and bridges, for balancing anything and even for balancing our satellites and space stations in place, 

Magnetic Forces

Have you played with magnets that stick together or repel each other? Magnets have two poles, north and south. Similar poles repel each other (like pushing two toy cars with the same ends together), while opposite poles attract (like sticking to a fridge). That is a non-contact force which is playing there. Magnets have a special power to attract or repel other magnets from a distance, without even touching. 

For Example – This force can be experienced in the modern age levitating trains, industrial machinery, compasses, etc. The different kinds of attraction in magnets are – 

  • Electromagnetism
  • Diamagnetism
  • Paramagnetism
  • Ferromagnetism
  • Antiferromagnetism

Electromagnetic Forces

When charges are still, they exert an electric force that either attracts or repels each other. The like charges repel each other and the opposite charges attract each other. When these charges start moving, they generate magnetic field lines and produce a magnetic force. These two forces together form the electromagnetic forces which are found in nature and are invisible.

For Example – These forces are the responsible factor for the generation of electricity, the working of electric motors and electromagnetic communications like Radio, television and the internet.

Nuclear Forces

The nuclear force is invisible and exists within the nucleus, where it binds protons and neutrons together. This force operates between protons and neutrons, neutrons and neutrons and protons and protons. There are two types of nuclear forces – 

  1. Strong Nuclear Force – These forces hold the nucleus of an atom together. It acts as a short-distance force but overpowers the electrical repulsion between protons within the nucleus.
  1. Weak Nuclear Force – These forces are responsible for certain types of radioactive decay and some subatomic particle interactions. Compared to the strong nuclear force, it has a much weaker strength and acts over a long-distance force.

For Example – The nuclear forces are responsible for the creation of nuclear energy used for electricity and are also used in certain medical appliances like imaging techniques, positron emission tomography (PET) scans, etc.

Electrostatic Forces

The electrostatic force acts when the cosmos exerts force between two electrically charged bodies. These forces can be either attractive or repulsive in nature depending on the charge of the bodies involved. Have you ever rubbed a balloon on your hair and made it stand from its end? That is static electricity. When you rub the balloon, it creates an invisible electrical charge. This charge can attract other objects, like your hair strands, making them stand up like tiny antennas.

For Example – These forces are responsible in fields like nanotechnology. Scientists use these forces to manipulate and assemble tiny particles very precisely in their position.

Also Read – Define Cohesive Force: Types and Importance

Non-Contact Force Examples

Non-contact forces are like invisible helpers, that affect the object without touching them. Some of the examples of non-contact forces are – 

  1. Do you remember the story of Isaac Newton – An apple falling off a tree is a good example of the force of gravity, which was discovered by Newton. 
  2. The magnet souvenirs you bring from places you visit to placed on the front side of the refrigerator. It happens by the force of magnetism. 
what is non-contact force
  1. A raindrop falling on earth is a non-metallic force. 
  2. When you comb your hair and place the comb near pieces of paper, the paper is attracted towards the comb, which is an example of non-metallic forces. 
  3. The ball or any object when thrown upwards, falls freely due to the force of gravity toward the earth. Even a leaf falling off a tree shows non-metallic properties. 


What are 3 forces that are non-contact forces?

The forces of gravity, electrostatic attraction and repulsion and magnetic attraction and repulsion are real-life examples of forces being exerted by one object on another even when they are not in direct contact with each other.

What is an example of a non-contact force?

Some examples of non-contact force can be a leaf falling from the trees or any fruit falling on the ground.

What is non-contact force class 9?

The forces which are experienced by bodies without being physically touched are called the non-contact forces. For e.g. Gravitational force, Magnetic force and Electrostatic force.

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Hope this blog helps you understand what is non-contact force. Keep reading more of our blogs to learn about the basic concepts of Physics!

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