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MCAT Physics Question — Resultant Force

A 4N and an 8N external force act on an object. What is a possible magnitude of the resultant force on the object from the two forces?


a) 0N

b) 2N

c) 4N

d) 16N



When two forces act on an object, the maximum magnitude of the resultant is the summation of forces, 4N + 8N = 12N in this example. Similarly, the minimum magnitude of the resultant occurs then the forces act in opposite directions, 8N – 4N = 4N. The resultant magnitude could be anywhere between the minimum and maximum. Only choice c can be correct.

a) 0N, incorrect, This magnitude is less than the minimum.

b) 2N, incorrect, This magnitude is less than the minimum.

c) 4N, correct.

d) 16N, incorrect, This magnitude is greater than the maximum possible resultant.

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