Sat April 10, 2010 By:

gravitational force

Expert Reply
Sun April 11, 2010

Dear student,

Gravity, the weakest of the four forces, is about 10-36 times the strength of the strong force. This weakness is easily demonstrable - on a dry day, rub a comb across your shirt to give it static electricity, then hold it over a piece of paper on a desk. If you were successful, the piece of paper lifts off the desk. It takes an entire planet to keep the paper on the desk, but this force is easily overcome with everyday materials employing the electromagnetic force.

However, the range of gravity is unlimited - every object in the universe exerts a gravitational force on everything else. The effects of gravity depend on two things: the mass of two bodies and the distance between them. In more precise terms, the attractive force between any two bodies is directly proportional to the product of the masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the bodies. The dominance of gravity on macroscopic scales is due not to any intrinsic strength but instead to its enormous range and constant attractive nature, especially as compared to the other forces.

Hope this helps.



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