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How do you calculate average force?

  1. Mar 22, 2004 #1
    How do you calculate average force? Where does time fit in?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 22, 2004 #2
    If you have the graph of the force F as a function of time t, you first need to calculate the area below the graph, which is equal to the product of the average force and the total time:
    [tex]\int _{t = 0} ^{\Delta t}Fdt = F_{avg}\Delta t[/tex]

    See the attachment for an example. The red graph signfies the average force. The areas below the red graph and the blue graph need to be the same.

    Attached Files:

  4. Mar 22, 2004 #3
    Avg F

    I don't have a graph. I have initial/final velocity, mass and time. Is there an equation for Average Force?
  5. Mar 22, 2004 #4
    Then the force is constant... first find the acceleration of the body. Use this formula:
    [tex]V_f = V_0 + at[/tex]
    And then when you have the acceleration and the mass it's easy to find the force:
    [tex]\Sigma F = ma[/tex]
  6. Mar 22, 2004 #5


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    Gold Member

    The force is not necessarily constant Chen, the 'a' (i.e. acceleration) in your first equation is infact the average accelartion (from the data set given it is impossible to deterimne whether a is constant or not).

    Chen has alreday given you the correct equations, which can be given as:

    [tex]F_{average} = \frac{m(v-u)}{t}[/tex]

    where u is the initial velocity and v the final velocity
  7. Mar 25, 2004 #6
    The average force is mass times the average acceleration.

    The average acceleration is simply the change in velocity divided by the time it took to change the velocity, regardless of whether the change is smooth or not.
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