Inquiry into Physics

8th Edition
ISBN: 9781337515863
Textbook Problem

(Indicates a review question. which means it requires only a basic understanding of the material to answer. Questions without this designation typically require integrating or extending the concepts presented thus far.)

What does a physicist mean by “external” force? Iii light of Newton’s third law of motion, why can’t an internal force alone produce an acceleration of a stein?

To determine

The meaning of an external force and why an internal force alone does cannot produce acceleration in a system.


The forces which come from the outside of the system are known as external forces. The forces arise due to the external agents present in the surroundings. These forces can change the momentum or provide acceleration to the system. Now, according to Newton’s third law, forces always exist in pairs. Hence, an internal force will have its pair inside the system which will be pointing in the opposite direction...

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