10 Differences Between contact and non contact force

What is Contact Force?

A contact force refers to the force that is exerted when two objects are physically touching each other. This force occurs as a result of direct contact between the two objects.

Examples of Contact Force

  • Friction: The force that opposes the motion of an object across a surface.
  • Normal Force: The force exerted by a surface to support the weight of an object resting on it.
  • Tension Force: The force in a string, rope, or cable when it is pulled tight.
  • Applied Force: The force exerted on an object by a person or another object.
  • Air Resistance: The force that opposes the motion of an object through the air.

Uses of Contact Force

Contact forces are essential in our daily lives and have various applications, including:

  • Walking or running: The friction between our feet and the ground allows us to move forward.
  • Writing: The applied force exerted on a pencil helps create marks on paper.
  • Driving: The friction between tires and the road provides necessary traction to accelerate and brake.

What is Non-Contact Force?

A non-contact force, as the name suggests, refers to the force that can act on an object without any physical contact. These forces occur at a distance and most commonly involve the concept of fields.

Examples of Non-Contact Force

  • Gravity: The force that attracts objects towards each other due to their masses.
  • Magnetic Force: The force exerted by magnets on magnetic materials or other magnets.
  • Electric Force: The force between charged objects or particles.

Uses of Non-Contact Force

Non-contact forces have numerous practical applications, including:

  • Electricity generation: The interaction between magnetic fields and conductive material is essential for producing electrical energy.
  • Satellite communication: The gravitational force between the Earth and satellites helps in maintaining their orbits, enabling communication services.
  • Medical imaging: Magnetic fields are utilized in techniques like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to generate detailed images of the human body.

Differences between Contact Force and Non-Contact Force

Difference Area Contact Force Non-Contact Force
Ocurrence A result of direct physical contact. Acts at a distance without physical contact.
Examples Friction, normal force, tension force, etc. Gravity, magnetic force, electric force, etc.
Medium Requires a material medium for transmission. Can act in vacuum or empty space.
Strength Can vary depending on the nature of surfaces in contact. Depends on mass, charge, or magnetic properties.
Range Usually limited to the area of direct contact. Can act over considerable distances.
Direction Can be exerted in any direction. Follows specific laws and rules governing the force.
Field Doesn’t involve the concept of a field. Occurs due to the presence of a field.
Application Essential for walking, driving, writing, etc. Used in electricity generation, satellite communication, medical imaging, etc.
Force of Attraction/Repulsion Can result in both attraction and repulsion. Can lead to either attraction or repulsion, depending on the charges or magnetic properties.
Influence Objects need to be in physical contact to experience contact forces. Objects can experience non-contact forces even without being in direct contact with each other.


Contact forces occur when two objects physically touch, while non-contact forces act at a distance without any physical contact. The main differences between these forces lie in their occurrence, examples, medium, range, strength, direction, and applications.

People Also Ask:

Q: What are some common examples of contact forces?

A: Some common examples of contact forces include friction, normal force, tension force, applied force, and air resistance.

Q: How do non-contact forces work?

A: Non-contact forces work through the concept of fields. For example, gravity works by attracting objects towards each other due to their masses, while magnetic force and electric force operate based on the properties of magnets and charged objects, respectively.

Q: Can contact forces and non-contact forces coexist?

A: Yes, contact forces and non-contact forces can coexist. For instance, when you hold a magnet close to a metal object, both magnetic attraction (non-contact force) and normal force (contact force) come into play.

Q: Which force is stronger, contact or non-contact force?

A: The strength of contact forces can vary depending on the nature of surfaces in contact, while the strength of non-contact forces depends on factors such as mass, charge, or magnetic properties. Therefore, it is not accurate to generalize that one force is stronger than the other.

Q: Does the medium affect contact and non-contact forces?

A: Yes, the medium can affect contact forces. For example, friction force can be affected by the nature of the surfaces and the presence of lubricants. On the other hand, non-contact forces, such as gravity, can act in vacuum or empty space as they do not require a material medium for transmission.

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