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The official answer is ‘the sum of forces acting on an object’ but what does that mean? A pair of opposite forces will have an effect on the movement of an object. (Like tug of war!) It will move in the direction of the bigger force. So if it’s not moving it will start to move if it is already moving it will speed up or change direction. When take the small force from the big force, you get the overall force the object experiences, and this is what we call the resultant force. For example 6N - 3N = 3N. The resultant is what you have after you do this. The bigger the resultant force the bigger the effect. 6N - 1N = 5N so this would be a bigger acceleration. If the forces are the same as each other, the object won’t accelerate or change direction. Doing the maths again the overall force is zero. So there will be no effect - the object will continue to move without speeding up or slowing down - or not move at all.
Asked by Molly
Equation for kinetic energy