Force and Behavioral Inertia

Topics: Force, Friction, Classical mechanics Pages: 2 (499 words) Published: January 16, 2007

Inertia is the tendency for a body to either remain at rest or move in a straight line at a constant speed, unless acted up by an unbalanced force. In both cases, the item has an acceleration of zero. Inertia is not a force, but rather a resistance to a change in velocity. In other words, the object wants to stay put or stay constant, and inertia is what happens when a force gives it acceleration.

An example of inertia in the physical world happens while riding in a car. The driver turns the car left, but his body leans to the right during the turn. Since the driver has inertia, his body is resisting the change in velocity by leaning in the opposite direction of the applied/unbalanced force. Another physical example can be seen if someone were to push an ice cube across a surface. When pushed, an imbalance occurs because the applied force is stronger than the kinetic friction force that is aiding in keeping its inertia. Therefore the ice slides, but it does eventually slow down and stop. A third example occurs when someone may try or succeed in pulling a tablecloth from beneath the table settings. When the person pulls the tablecloth from underneath to the right, the settings may stay in their same position. This is demonstrating the inertia the objects have—they want to stay put. Also, the person may have failed in their attempt and in this case the candlesticks, glasses, etc. fall to the left (in the opposite direction). This is their resistance to the acceleration given to them by the unbalanced force.

Behavioral inertia can also be seen in our world in the way humans tend to behave. This is generally seen in the way human beings are anti-change. We resist moving from our homes because we've become so comfortable in staying where we are. Children become jealous of new siblings because they've become used to being the center of their parents' attention and don't want anything to change. Humans are stubborn and set in behaviors by nature. For...
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