Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Newton's Third Law

Figure from experiment 5 from Advanced Physics with Vernier — Mechanics


In your discussion of the force concept you may have heard that a force is a push or pull exerted by one object on another. You may also have heard a popular expression of Newton’s third law: “For every action, there is an equal, but opposite reaction.” Unfortunately, this expression leads to some naïve conceptions about forces. Unlike Newton’s first two laws, which deal with the effects of forces on a single object, the third law describes the interaction between two objects. In this experiment, you will examine this interaction in a variety of situations so that you might develop a better understanding of the forces involved when two objects interact.


In this experiment, you will

  • Observe the magnitude and direction of forces exerted by interacting objects.
  • Observe the time variation of these forces.
  • Develop a more robust expression of Newton’s third law.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Advanced Physics with Vernier — Mechanics

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Motion on an Incline
2Error Analysis
3Newton's First Law
4Newton's Second Law
5Newton's Third Law
6Projectile Motion
7Energy Storage and Transfer: Elastic Energy
8Energy Storage and Transfer: Kinetic Energy
9Energy Storage and Transfer: Gravitational Energy
10AImpulse and Momentum (Motion Detector)
10BImpulse and Momentum (Photogate)
11AMomentum and Collisions (Motion Detectors)
11BMomentum and Collisions (Photogates)
12ACentripetal Acceleration
12BCentripetal Acceleration
13Rotational Dynamics
14Conservation of Angular Momentum
15Simple Harmonic Motion: Mathematical Model
16Simple Harmonic Motion: Kinematics and Dynamics
17Pendulum Periods
18Physical Pendulum
19Center of Mass

Experiment 5 from Advanced Physics with Vernier — Mechanics Lab Book

<i>Advanced Physics with Vernier — Mechanics</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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