Newton's third law in terms of inertial position vectors for n-body system

  1. Assuming
    $$\vec{r_{a}}$$ and $$\vec{r_{b}}$$ is calculated from an inertial frame of reference.

    then for any two objects (named a and b) in a system of more than two objects,
    Is this the newton's third law,


    i think this cant be right because then this implies

    $$\frac{d^{2}}{dt^{2}}m_{i}\vec{r_{i}}=0$$ for every object in that system.

    so i think i have misunderstood the law, so my question is can anyone state the law in terms of above variables for n-body system ?

    Edit 1 (fix)
    fixed a embarrassing mistake d/dt -> d^2/dt^2

    thank you
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. No it does not :(

    i think the problem i am facing is which frame of reference to use, for example

    1. if i use a frame of reference such as its origin and the center of mass of the object from which the position vector is to be calculated, coinsides .so

    $$\vec{R_{AB}}$$ is position vector of object A from a frame of reference such as its origin and center of mass of object B coinsides.
    $$\vec{R_{BA}}$$ is position vector of object B from a frame of reference such as its origin and center of mass of object A coinsides.

    and the law would be


    but the problem what $$\theta_{AB},\theta_{BA}$$ to choose, certainly the above equation is not true for arbitrary $$\theta_{AB},\theta_{BA}$$ .

    2. may be a inertial frame of reference is that frame and following eqaution is the law,




    where $$\vec{r_{A}},\vec{r_{B}}$$ is calculated from an inertial frame of reference .

    please tell me which one is correct ? if both not correct please state the law too in terms of $$\vec{r_{A}},\vec{r_{B}}$$ ?

    thank you
  4. it just says
    F12=-F21,where F12=m2 dv2/dt(acting on second one).similarly for F21.Don't count others position vector into first one or so.
  5. Doc Al

    Staff: Mentor

    Newton's 3rd law simply says:
    [tex]\vec{F}_{ab} = - \vec{F}_{ba}[/tex]
    When you drag in the acceleration you are really talking about Newton's 2nd law, which involves the net force. No reason to think that the net force on particle a will be equal and opposite to the net force on particle b if other particles exist.
  6. ok but since $$\vec{F}_{AB}$$ is a vector what is the frame of reference ?

    can $$\vec{F}_{AB}$$ be expressed in terms of any positional vectors or any other variables ?
  7. ANY inertial reference frame will work.
  8. i think i got it.

    where $$\left|\vec{F}_{AB}\right|$$ is all those forces like gravitational etc .

    i did not know how to express $$\vec{F}_{AB}$$ . i thought it was same force as defined in 2nd law.

    thanks andrien, Doc Al .
  9. Doc Al

    Staff: Mentor

    Well, that would be true for any vector.
    Not sure what you are saying here.

    When I wrote Newton's 2nd law as [tex]\vec{F}_{ab} = - \vec{F}_{ba}[/tex]
    [itex]\vec{F}_{ab}[/itex] stood for the force on a exerted by b and [itex]\vec{F}_{ba}[/itex] stood for the force on b exerted by a.
  10. what i mean is that before tackling the third law, it is necessary that the notion $$\vec{F}_{ab}$$ be understood, means how to calculate or express it , which i did not. the point is $$\vec{F}_{ab}$$ is completely different than $$\vec{F}_{a}$$ defined in 2nd law. actually its confusing that both are referred as force.

    i think the law is saying that when defining (or at least for all defined) inter-body forces (like gravitational,electric or magnetic), you only need (to define)
    the third law would automatically define,

    i suppose its for individual interbody force , then thats what i am saying . i am just trying to avoid any personification i can. but if its not for individual forces, then i dont know how to get $$\vec{F}_{ab}$$ if there are more than two forces involved.
    my guess would be for two forces gravitational and electric,


    but then i think newton's laws would be insufficient to imply this

    please tell me if i am wrong .
  11. Doc Al

    Staff: Mentor

    Newton's 3rd law concerns individual forces (interactions between two bodies) not the net force on a body.
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