Newton's Third Law and FreeBody Diagrams: AP Physics 1 Study Guide
Introduction
Welcome, budding physicists, to the magical world of Newton’s Third Law and FreeBody Diagrams! This is where the universe becomes one giant dance floor and every force comes with its own dance partner. Grab your physics notebooks because it’s time to learn about how every action has an equally sassy and opposite reaction. Let's dive in! 🚀🍰
Force Vectors: The Basics
Forces can be a bit like your moods: they come in different magnitudes and directions. In the world of physics, we call these force vectors. Whether it's a gentle breeze or the splash of a cannonball into a pool, they can all be described by vectors. Imagine if arrows could talk – they’d tell you both how strong a force is and where it's pointing!
A key vocabulary term here is vector. Vectors have both size (magnitude) and direction. For example, if your GPS tells you there’s a donut shop five miles east, "five miles" is the magnitude and "east" is the direction. Similarly, forces, displacements, velocities, and accelerations are vector quantities.
Arrows become our trusty sidekicks here. If you draw a super short arrow, it's a wimpy force. But a long arrow? Now we're talking about a powerhouse!
FreeBody Diagrams: Draw Your Physics Dreams
Imagine if you could see every force acting on an object drawn out as arrows. Boom! That's a freebody diagram (FBD) for you. These nifty diagrams help visualize all the external forces acting on an object. It's like seeing all the invisible hands that push, pull, and yank an object around.
In an FBD, the object is represented by a dot or a box, and each force is shown as an arrow pointing in the direction the force is applied. Let's break it down:
 Weight (Gravity): Always points downward, thanks to Earth's gravitational pull.
 Normal Force: Perpendicular to the surface, counteracting gravity. Think of this as the superhero force that keeps things from plummeting through the floor!
 Friction: The alltime buzzkill, always resisting motion. If you're sliding something right, friction is pulling left.
Here's a key point: the length of each arrow should reflect the force’s magnitude. So, in your favorite action movie car chase scene, imagine arrows for each car’s forces. The bigger the explosion, the longer the arrow!
Example with our Old Friend: The Box
Let’s meet our classic example  a 10kilogram box being pushed across a floor.

Draw the Force Vectors: You have your rightward arrow for the "Push Force" of 50 newtons, leftward arrow for "Friction Force" of 30 newtons, and downward and upward arrows for Gravity and Normal force.

Resultant (Net) Force Calculation: The resultant force is the sum of all forces. In this case, F = 50 N (right) + (30 N) (left) = 20 N to the right.

Calculate Acceleration: Use Newton's second law, F = ma. Here, a = F/m = 20 N / 10 kg = 2 m/s² to the right.
So, the box will accelerate to the right at 2 m/s². Run, box, run!
Newton's Third Law: The ActionReaction Tango
Have you ever tried to lift a friend up, only to feel yourself being pushed down? Congratulations, you've experienced Newton’s Third Law in action! For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. It’s the ultimate physics dance move: let's call it the ActionReaction Tango. 🎶💃🕺
Key vocabulary term here is actionreaction pair. When you push on your friend (action) and your friend pushes back with equal force (reaction), there! A dynamic duo in action.
Simple yet profound. Push against a wall and it pushes you right back. That’s why you don't just glide through walls like a ghost (unless you’re in a ScoobyDoo episode).
Let's look at some familiar force pairs:
 Gravity: Earth pulls you down, but you also pull Earth up (only, Earth is a bit heavier!).
 Normal Force: When you’re standing, the ground pushes up against you with a force equal to your weight.
 Tension: A rope pulls on a climber, and the climber pulls on the rope.
 Friction: A skateboard slides forward, friction pushes backward resisting the motion.
In all these scenarios, the forces are equal in magnitude but opposite in direction. Voilà! Newton's Third Law – as dependable as your morning coffee.
Summary of Key Terms
 Acceleration: Change in velocity over time.
 ActionReaction Pair: Forces that are equal but opposite, occurring simultaneously.
 Applied Force: The external force acting on an object.
 Direction: The line or path along which something moves or points.
 Displacement: Change in position from the initial to final point.
 Equilibrium: State of balance, where net force and net torque are zero.
 FreeBody Diagram: Visual representation of all forces acting on an object.
 Friction: Force resisting relative motion between surfaces.
 Gravity: The force pulling objects with mass towards each other.
 Newton's Second Law: Acceleration is directly proportional to net force and inversely proportional to mass.
 Newton's Third Law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
 Resultant Force: Combined effect of multiple forces.
 Tension: Pulling force in a string, rope, or cable.
 Vector: Quantity with both magnitude and direction.
 Velocity: Rate of change of displacement.
Fun Fact
Did you know Isaac Newton formulated these laws while working from home during the Great Plague of London? Talk about productive quarantine!
Conclusion
Congratulations, you’ve just cruised through Newton's Third Law and FreeBody Diagrams with the finesse of a hoverboard on a smooth surface. This unit is fundamental to understanding how forces interact in our universe, from the subtle push of a whisper to the mighty punch of a rocket launch. Now, head into those physics problems with the confidence of Newton himself!
Go forth and tackle your AP Physics 1 exam with the precision of a labcoatclad Jedi, and may the force (vectors) be with you! 🚀📚