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# The force of attraction between any two masses

## in the universe is called the force of gravitation.

Gravitational force is directly proportional to the
product of the masses and inversely proportional
to the square of the distance between the
objects
Symbolically: F m
1
x m
2

F
1
r
2r
3r
Object
Earth
Distance Weight
r 1 unit
2r 1/4 unit
3r 1/9 unit
F m
1
& F m
2
& F 1/d
2
2
N. B. Definition:
Every particle in the universe exerts a force
of gravitational attraction on every other
particle. The force between the two particles
is directly proportional to the product of their
masses and inversely proportional to the square
of the distance between them.

Mathematically:
2
2 1
d
m x m
G F
G is the universal gravitational constant.
G = 6,67 x 10
-11
N.m
2
.kg
-2

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The value of G was determined by Lord Cavendish
using the following apparatus.
In this experiment the
force of attraction
between the spheres
was measured & G
could thus be
calculated.
Cavendish's experiment
Law of gravitation
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Terminology
Free fall:
An unimpeded fall where only
gravitational force acts on an object.(Up or down)
Terminal velocity (during free fall):
The velocity an object has when the upward air
resistance is equal to the earths downward
attracting force. (constant velocity)
Gravitational acceleration (g):
The acceleration of an object in earths
gravitational field.
Coin & feather experiment
Free fall from space
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The value of g varies over earths surface. At
the equator it is less and at the poles it is more.
9,8 m/s
2
is usually used. Use this value in all
calculations
The value of g is
independent of the
mass of the object
in earths gravitational
field. This can be
shown mathematically
as follows:
Determination of g by pendulum
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The force between an object and earth is given by:
F = G
2
r
m x M
According to N II:
F
net
= w = mg
Therefore:
mg = G
2
r
m x M
g = G
2
r
M
The acceleration g is
thus dependent
(& not the mass of
the object) of the
planet.
The gravity on any
planet is thus
calculated this way.
Weight of Earth
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The mass
of the
respective
planets
determines
gravity
Gravity on planets
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Mass (in kilogram kg) is the amount of
matter contained by a particular object.

It always has the same value irrespective
of its position in the universe.

Can also be described as:

A measure of how much an object resists a
change in its state of rest or of uniform
velocity. This is known as the inertial mass.

Weight, however is a force.
Mass vs weight Inertia, mass & weight
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Mass pieces
Object placed in
one pan and
mass pieces in
the other.
This determines
the mass of the
object.
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The weight of an object (in newton N) is a
measure of the gravitational force of
attraction exerted by the earth on an object
near to the earths surface.

w = f
g
= mg

Here w or f
g
is the weight, m the mass of the
object and g the acceleration due to gravity.

The g near the earths surface
is approximately 9,8 ms
-2
.
g is also different from point
to point on surface of earth.
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The sensation of weightlessness is what we
experience when our weight appears to be zero
even when in a gravitational field.

This happens when in free fall.

Astronauts experience this sensation while
orbiting the Earth in their spacecraft. They are
experiencing the same acceleration
as the spacecraft and the floor
exerts no force on them thus
the feeling of weightlessness.
Weightlessness
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