Home » Mechanics » Force Push and Pull: Definition and Examples

Force Push and Pull: Definition and Examples

You can find forces everywhere. We use force to do things like lifting things up, opening and closing doors, hammering a nail, etc. Looking around yourself you can find numerous other examples where force is used to perform different tasks.

What is a force?

Force is defined as a push or pull on an object. Force can change the shape of the object on which it is applied. Another effect of Force is that it can also change the state of motion (i.e., from rest to moving) and direction of the motion.

Push and pull forces definition

Force push and pull
Image made using canva

The main difference between pull and push force is because of the direction of force with respect to the object that exerts force. Consider a tug of war game. In order to win the game, you have to pull the long rope used in the game. Here you are exerting force by pulling the rope towards yourself. So in pull force direction of force is towards the object exerting the force.

Consider a situation when your car got stuck, and sometimes you have to apply a force on the car from the back in order to start it. In this case, you are applying a push force that is moving the car away from you. So, in push force, the direction of force is away from the object that is exerting the force.

Push force definition

When we apply force in a direction away from us then it is called push force.

Pull force definition

When we apply force in a direction towards us, it is known as pull force. Example:- Opening a drawer, lifting a bag.

10 examples of push and pull forces

Given below are 5 examples of both the push and pull forces. We have tried to bring forward some push and pull examples at home and in our daily life. So let us have a look at what things can you push and pull.

5 Examples of push force

Let us now look at the things you can pull

1. Walking

We know from our experience that feet push the ground while walking. Walking action can be explained with the help of Newton’s Laws of motion and the concept of friction. Every action has an equal and opposite response, according to Newton’s third law of motion.

Whenever the ground pushes back against you, it does so with a counterforce that goes in the opposite direction. This force is called friction. In order for us to be able to walk, the force of the person’s push must be greater than that of the force of friction between the ground and our feet.

2. Football

We all know that player keeps pushing the ball in a football game. So, when someone is playing football, they hit the ball with their foot, which moves the ball away from them. The push force is the force that causes the ball to move away from the player. 

3. Closing a drawer

When we want to close an open drawer we push it away from us by applying force to it. So, closing a drawer is an example of push force.

4. Pushing a trolley or wheel chair

When we want to move a trolley or a wheelchair we have to do it manually by applying a force on it in a direction away from us. It is best to use push force in these situations. Pushing the trolley or wheelchair in the opposite direction of the person doing the pushing helps it move forward.

5. Typing on a keyboard

When you press a key, switch, or button, it moves away from you. It is called “push force” when a force makes an object move away from the person who used it. While typing on the keyboard we push keys to get desired output on the screen. Thus, typing on a keyboard is a good example of a push force.

5 Examples of pull force

Now that we have learned about the examples of push force let us now look at some examples of pull force.

1. Pulling window curtain

Curtains and blinds could not have been used without a push or pull force To move a curtain or blind over a window, you need to exert a certain amount of pull force.

2. Pulling the rope in a tug of war

In a tug of war game, each team pulls on the rope. The effect of force is neutralized and the force is a balanced force as long as both teams pull the rope with equal force. The team that pulls the rope the hardest wins the game.

3. Lifting a bag

When you lift an object, you must overcome the total weight of the object, which is due to gravity. When you push an object, all you have to do is overcome the friction that the object creates with the surface due to its weight. Here, when we lift the bag, we don’t have to work against the force of friction. So, lifting an object means pulling it.

4. Drawing bucket filled with water from the well

To draw water from the well, first, tie one end of the rope in the bucket and put it into the well. Then guide the rope from the pulley. A pulley is used to lift the full bucket of water. To get the bucket-filled water out of the well, we must pull the rope.

So the object’s push or pull determines the direction of motion. When the rope is pulled, the water-filled bucket goes upward. If the rope is pushed, the water-filled bucket goes downward.

5. Opening a drawer

When we want to open an open drawer we pull it towards us by applying force to it. So, opening a drawer is an example of pull force.

Conclusion

From looking at the above examples we can clearly see that we can apply both push and pull forces on objects for example to open the drawer we would have to pull it and to close it we would have to push it.

So, when it comes to applying force it is all about either pushing or pulling. When there is a Gravitational force of attraction between two massive objects both of them try to pull each other towards their center. Similarly, for two opposite charges, they both try to pull the other charge, and in case of similar charges, they try to push each other away.

It is important to note here that both gravitational and electric forces are non-contact forces. Hence both contact force and non-contact forces can be used to apply force (both push and pull) in order to change the shape, size, or state of motion of the object.

Learn more about the effects of force.

Frequently asked Questions

1. What is a push or a pull on an object?

Force is defined as a push or pull in science. A force is something that one object exerts on another object. Application of force (pushing and pulling objects) can change the shape, size, or state of motion of the object.

2. Why pulling is easier than pushing an object?

When you push, one component of force is added to the weight of the body, causing greater friction.
When you pull, the vertical component of force is directed against the weight of your body, resulting in reduced overall friction.
As a result, it is easier to pull than to push an object.

3. What can you push?

Some things that can be pushed are

  1. closing a door,
  2. Thumbnails pressed on the wall or board
  3. pushing a trolley
  4. Kicking a ball, 
  5. plugging a plug into a socket

4. What is the difference between pull and push force?

The difference between a pull and a push in the direction of the force. Pull means the force is directed toward the object exerting it. Push means to move away from the item exerting force. 

Further Reading