Types of non contact forces

What are Non-Contact Forces?

Non-contact forces are the forces that act on bodies that are not in contact.

Types of non-contact forces are
1. Gravitational force
2. Magnetic force
3. Electrostatic force

Let us now discuss each of the above-mentioned types of non-contact forces in detailed with appropriate examples.

Gravitational Force

Often times you might have noticed different things falling on the Earth's surface. You might have wondered why things on Earth, fall downwards not upwards. The reason is the Gravity of Earth. Force due Gravity or Gravitational force was first explained by Sir Isac Newton. He discovered Gravity when he observed a falling apple. He then thought about the forces of nature. Eventually, he realized that force that acts on the apple falling from the tree towards Earth is the same force that acts on all falling bodies. It is the force of Gravitation. In fact, it is the same force that acts on all bodies that are on the surface of Earth. It is the same force that makes Moon a satellite of Earth and binds Earth in an orbit around Sun.

Why is Gravitational Force a non-contact force?
Gravitational force is a non-contact force because it is capable of acting on objects when they are not in contact with each other. For example in the case of an Earth-Moon system both Earth and moon exert a force of Gravitation on each other but they are not in contact with each other.  A similar argument can be given for the Earth-Sun system.

Magnetic Force

You might have seen a magnet like one shown below in the figure

Magnets large or small are capable of attracting metals like iron even if they are kept at a certain distance from them.

Magnetic Force or force due to magnets is an action at a distance force. In other words, we can say that it is a type of non-contact force. Magnets are even capable of moving objects that are heavier than them. Magnets can attract and repel depending on which ends are facing other.

The electrostatic Force

The electrostatic force is another type of non-contact force which is observed in nature. You can observe this force in action through the following activity:
1. first rub the comb through your dry hairs
2. Now bring this comb near small bits of paper.
3. This comb would attract the bits of papers towards itself.  
This happens because when the comb is rubbed in your hairs it acquires an electric charge. This charge can be positive as well as negative. Electrostatic charges are capable of exerting force on other charged bodies even when they both are kept at some distance from each other.

Learn more about electric charge concept 

Types of Forces Concept Map

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