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INERTIA

Inertia is the property of matter which constitutes every object or substance in the universe that causes it to resist any change of its motion in either direction or speed. This property is described by the first law of motion of the English scientist Sir Isaac Newton which states, an object at rest tends to stay at rest, and an object in motion tends to continue in motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an outside force. For example, passengers in a speeding car or vehicle feel the force of the seat against their backs overcoming their inertia so as to increase their speed of motion. As the car reduces its speed, the passengers tend to continue in motion and lurch forward. If the car turns a corner, then a package on the car seat will slide across the seat as the inertia of the package causes it to continue moving in a straight line.

An object's inertia is determined by its mass. According to Newton's second law, a force acting on an object is equal to the mass of the object multiplied by the speed of motion the object undergoes. Thus, if a force causes an object to speed or travel at a certain rate, then a stronger force must be applied to make a more massive or larger object travel at the same rate; the bigger object has a larger amount of inertia that must be overcome. For example, if a bowling ball and a baseball are moving so that they end up rolling at the same speed, then a larger force must have been applied to the bowling ball, since it has more inertia.

Types of Force | Motion | Inertia | Zero Gravity | Mass | Weight | Biographies | Newton's Laws
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