Activity Number
106
Editable
Overview and Learning Objectives
Central Concepts
Textbook References
Activity Credits
Requirements

Observing Newton's 3rd Law in a Molecular Dynamics Simulation (a 1-page model)

Demonstration model

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This Activity Requires:

  • Java 1.5+ - Java 1.5+ is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X 10.4 and greater. If you are using Mac OS X 10.3, you can download MW Version 1.3 and explore within it instead.

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Overview and Learning Objectives

With the embedded molecular dynamics model, you can easily drop atoms into the simulation box and study simple particle dynamics. By playing with this example, you will observe Newton's Third Law. You will see that when two atoms collide, the forces on them point to opposite directions. You may observe the rarer three-body collision events. How can you explain the forces on three colliding particles using the Third Law? (You need to know about vectors.)

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Central Concepts

Key Concept:

Newton's Third Law: Forces always occur in pairs. If object A exerts a force on object B, then object B exerts an equal and opposite force (-F) on object A. In other words, every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

When two particles collide, the forces upon them will be equal and opposite.

Additional Related Concepts

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Textbook References

  • BSCS Human - Chapter 8: The Cellular Basis of Activity

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Activity Credits

Created by CC Project: Molecular Workbench using Molecular Workbench

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Requirements

  • Java 1.5+ - Java 1.5+ is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X 10.4 and greater. If you are using Mac OS X 10.3, you can download MW Version 1.3 and explore within it instead.

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NSF Logo
These materials are based upon work supported
by the National Science Foundation under grant numbers
9980620, ESI-0242701, EIA-0219345, DUE-0402553, and 0628181.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this
material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect
the views of the National Science Foundation.