What is the definition of "non-contact force"?
A force that can cause or change motion of an object without actually touching it. Gravity and magnetic forces are non-contact forces.

Learn more about non-contact force in the class Forces of Machines 110 below.

Mechanical Systems Training

Class Information
Mechanical Systems Training Tooling U-SME classes are offered at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. The typical class consists of 12 to 25 lessons and will take approximately one hour to complete.
Class Name:Forces of Machines 110
Description:This class identifies the various types of mechanical forces and describes how these forces act on objects. Includes an Interactive Lab.
Number of Lessons:17
Language:English, Spanish
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Class Outline
  • Objectives
  • Understanding Mechanical Forces
  • Measurement of Motion: Direction
  • Measurement of Motion: Linear Speed and Velocity
  • Measurement of Motion: Rotary Speed and Velocity
  • Torque
  • Momentum
  • Non-Contact Forces
  • Gravity
  • Contact Forces
  • Friction
  • The Role of Forces: Statics and Dynamics
  • The Characteristics of Forces
  • Scalar and Vector Quantities
  • Newton’s Laws of Motion
  • Energy
  • Summary
Class Objectives
  • Define work.
  • Identify the major types of motion.
  • Identify measurements of linear velocity.
  • Identify measurements of rotary speed.
  • Define torque.
  • Define momentum.
  • Identify non-contact forces.
  • Define gravity.
  • Identify contact forces.
  • Describe friction.
  • Distinguish between statics and dynamics.
  • Identify characteristics of forces.
  • Distinguish between scalar quantities and vector quantities.
  • Identify Newton’s Laws of Motion.
  • Distinguish between potential energy and kinetic energy.

Class Vocabulary

Vocabulary TermDefinition
accelerate To gain velocity or increase speed in a given direction.
acceleration The rate of change of velocity.
angle A figure formed by the intersection of two lines. Angles are also used to measure distances around a circle.
angular motion Circular motion that is measured in changes in angular position. Angular motion is measured in units of degrees or radians.
applied force The energy or effort provided to a machine to perform work. Applied force has many forms, from the power of an electric motor to the push from human hands.
area The amount of two-dimensional space. Area is also used to measure the outermost surface of an object.
axis An imaginary straight line that passes through the center of an object. Objects typically rotate around an axis.
belt and pulley system A setup on a machine consisting of two round, fixed pulleys. One pulley is powered and moves a belt, which in turn moves the other pulley.
brake A device used to stop motion, usually through friction.
cam A low-friction, circular lever consisting of a lobe and a shaft that transforms circular motion into linear motion. Cams are often used in combustion engines.
centimeter A small unit of linear measurement in the metric system. One centimeter equals approximately 0.3937 inch in the English system.
contact force A force that can cause or change motion of an object by touching it. Motors, gears, levers, and fluid power all operate through contact forces.
decelerate To lose velocity or reduce speed in a given direction.
degree A unit of angular measurement. There are 360 degrees in a complete circle.
density The amount of mass within a specific volume. Objects with greater density increase in mass and weight.
direction The path that an object takes when it moves.
distance The linear space between two objects or points.
dynamics The branch of the science of mechanics that deals with objects that are not in equilibrium.
electromagnetism Magnetism produced by an electric current.
energy The capacity to do work. Energy may be potential or kinetic and may appear as electrical, mechanical, thermal, or chemical energy.
English system A standard system of measurements based on the inch, second, pound, and Fahrenheit degrees. English measurements are primarily used in the United States and England.
equilibrium A state of sameness. Objects that are in equilibrium are either completely still or moving at a consistent rate.
foot A unit of linear measurement in the English system. One foot equals twelve inches.
force An influence that produces a change in an object's motion or state of rest. A force has a specific direction and magnitude.
friction A force that resists motion between two objects that are in contact with each other. Smoother surfaces exhibit less friction, while rougher surfaces exhibit more friction.
gear A disc or wheel that contains evenly spaced teeth around its perimeter. Gears are usually used in pairs to transmit energy and motion.
gravity The force of attraction between masses. Gravity is the force that makes objects fall to the ground.
hydraulic system A system that uses liquids to transmit motion to mechanical parts.
inch A small unit of linear measurement in the English system. One inch equals approximately 2.54 centimeters in the metric system.
inclined plane A simple machine consisting of a flat, angled surface used to raise objects. The mechanical advantage of an inclined plane increases with its length.
inertia The tendency of an object to remain at rest until acted on by a force.
kilometer A unit of linear measurement in the metric system. One kilometer equals 1,000 meters.
kinetic energy Energy of an object that has been put in motion.
linear motion Motion that takes place along a straight line. Linear motion can be measured using the English or metric system.
load The opposition to applied force, such as a weight to be carried or moved.
magnet A device or object that attracts iron and produces a magnetic field.
magnitude The measurement of the amount of an applied force.
mass The amount of matter in an object. Mass gives an object weight when it is acted upon by gravity.
matter The material or substance that makes up an object. Matter has both mass and volume.
mechanics The branch of physics concerned with the motion of objects. Mechanics deals with different forces that cause or prevent motion.
meter A base unit of linear measurement in the metric system. One meter equals 10 centimeters.
metric system A standard system of measurements based on the meter, second, kilogram, and Celsius degrees. The metric system is internationally recognized.
mile A unit of linear measurement in the English system, used for long distances. A mile contains 5,280 feet.
momentum The quantity of motion affecting an object. Momentum is mass multiplied by the velocity of an object.
Newton's Laws of Motion A set of three rules that describe the behavior of moving objects.
non-contact force A force that can cause or change motion of an object without actually touching it. Gravity and magnetic forces are non-contact forces.
perpendicular Forming a right angle by intersecting another line.
pneumatic system A system that uses air or gases to transmit motion to mechanical parts.
point of application The place on the object where the force is applied. Point of application can affect forces such as torque and momentum.
potential energy Stored energy with the potential to do work. Potential energy is often the result of an elevated position that can be acted upon by gravity.
pulley A circular device that is used to raise or lower a load or transmit motion. A pulley may be moveable or fixed.
radian A unit of angular measurement for the metric system. One radian is equal to approximately 57.3 degrees.
revolutions per minute The number of times a component rotates 360 degrees, or in a complete circle, in one minute. Revolutions per minute (rpm) is a measurement of rotary speed.
right-hand rule A method of determining the direction of rotary movement by wrapping one's right-hand fingers around the axis of rotation. Clockwise rotation points the thumb toward the person, and counterclockwise rotation points the thumb away.
rotary motion Spinning or turning motion that takes place around an axis, without a change in linear position.
rotary speed A measure of circular motion found by counting the number of revolutions that occur in a specific amount of time.
rotary velocity The angular change of position in a specific amount of time. Rotary velocity is measured in either degrees per second or radians per second.
scalar quantity An amount or measurement that is not related to direction. Speed, volume, and temperature are scalar quantities.
see saw A long, narrow board balanced in the middle on a fulcrum in such a way that as one end goes up, the other goes down.
speed The amount of distance traveled in a given period of time. Speed is used to measure both linear and rotational movement.
static electricity A buildup of electric charge on an object or a person. When discharged, static electricity can cause a slight shock.
statics The branch of the science of mechanics that deals with objects that are in equilibrium. A static object is either completely still or moving at a consistent rate.
temperature The amount of hotness or coldness of an object.
torque A force causing rotation.
vector quantity An amount or measurement that is related to a direction. Velocity, acceleration, and weight are vector quantities.
velocity The combination of an object's speed and direction of motion. Unlike speed, velocity always implies a direction.
volume The amount of three-dimensional space occupied by an object.
weight The force of a mass due to gravity. Without gravity, objects have no weight.
wheel and axle A simple machine consisting of a round disc or wheel with a central pole at its axis.
work The result of a force applied to an object and the distance through which the force is applied. In an equation, work is force multiplied by distance.