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Use of Calculus in Newtons Laws

  1. Aug 3, 2011 #1
    Why do I see newtons 3 laws (mostly 2 and 3) given using differentials (F=dp/dt etc...) when it is far simpler to use the basic form F=ma (and the same for the 3rd law), is there an advantage to the more complicated form?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 3, 2011 #2
    The differential form is the general law. F=ma only follows if the mass remains constant.

    [itex]F=\frac{d(mv)}{dt}=m\frac{dv}{dt}[/itex]

    However all physical situations do not have constant mass. So the differential form has the advantage of generality.
     
  4. Aug 3, 2011 #3
    That makes sense, thank you.
     
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