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MCAT Physics Question — Net Force

A particle with a net force of 5 N could NOT have which of the combination of forces?

A) 2 N and 3 N
B) 3 N and 4 N
C) 5 N and 11 N
D) 14 N and 18 N





This question asks the examinee to determine a combination of forces that could not result in net force of 5 N. To answer this question, you must consider the range of possibilities given the two forces.


The combination of a 2 N and 3 N forces could produce a net force of the smallest magnitude if the forces act in opposite directions. A net force of the greatest magnitude will result if the individual forces act in same direction. Thus, the range for the net force of 2 N and 3 N forces is between 1 N and 5 N.


Applying this logic to choice B, the range of the net force is between 1 N and 7 N. For C, the combination of 5 N and 11 N creates a net force in the range of 6 N to 16 N. Lastly, the net force for choice D rages between 4 N and 32 N.


Thus, choice C is the only combination that cannot produce a net force of 5 N making C the correct answer.

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