What Are Magnetic Force Electric Force And Gravity Examples Of?

Gravity, magnetic force, and electric force are all examples of fundamental forces. Fundamental forces are interactions between physical objects that do not appear to be reducible to more basic interactions. There are four known fundamental forces in physics: gravity, electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force.

Gravity is the force of attraction that exists between any two masses, causing them to move toward each other. Magnetic force is the force between magnetic poles that allows magnets to attract or repel each other. Electric force is the attraction or repulsion between electrically charged particles.

While gravity has an infinite range, the electric force and magnetic force have a limited range. However, all three forces share the common properties of being able to act at a distance and varying in strength depending on the properties of the objects involved.


Gravity is one of the four fundamental forces in nature. It is an attractive force that acts between all objects that have mass. Gravity originates from all matter and causes every object with mass to be drawn towards every other object with mass. The more mass an object has, the greater the gravitational force it exerts on other objects.

Gravity governs the motions of celestial bodies in the universe such as planets, stars, galaxies, and more. It keeps the moon in orbit around Earth and Earth in orbit around the sun. Gravity pulls objects towards the center of Earth which is why when you drop something, it falls downwards.

Gravity was first described mathematically by Sir Isaac Newton in his law of universal gravitation. This law states that every particle in the universe attracts every other particle with a force directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.

Magnetic Force

Magnetic force is generated by moving electric charges or electric currents and associated magnetic fields. It is responsible for attracting or repelling magnetic materials. Magnetic force plays a key role in the phenomena of electromagnetism.

When electric charges move, they create a magnetic field around them. The magnitude of the magnetic field depends on the speed of the electric charge and the amount of charge. Faster moving charges or more electric charge leads to a stronger magnetic field.

Materials like iron, cobalt and nickel that have many aligned unpaired electrons are affected by magnetic fields and will be pulled towards or pushed away by the force. That is why these materials are utilized in magnets. Other materials are unaffected by magnetic fields.

The force between two magnetic materials, like two bar magnets, is called magnetic force. When the opposite poles are facing each other, the magnetic force is attractive. When the like poles are facing, the magnetic force is repulsive. The closer the materials are, the stronger the force.

Magnetic force and electric force are closely related. A moving electric charge generates a magnetic field, while a moving magnet generates an electric field. The interplay between magnetic and electric fields is the basis for electromagnets, electric motors, generators and many other modern technologies.

Electric Force

Electric force is the force between electrically charged particles. It governs interactions between charged particles and is fundamentally responsible for chemical interactions and the structure of matter. Electric force is described mathematically by Coulomb’s law, which states that charged particles exert forces on each other even when separated by empty space.

The electric force between two charged particles is directly proportional to the magnitude of each charge (q1 and q2) and inversely proportional to the square of the distance (r) between them. This relationship is described by Coulomb’s law:

F = kqq/r2

Where k is a proportionality constant. Electric force can be attractive or repulsive depending on the charges involved. Like charges repel each other, while opposite charges attract. Electric force explains phenomena like static cling, lightning, and chemical bonding. It is one of the four fundamental forces in nature, along with gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces.

Properties of Fundamental Forces

Gravity, magnetic force, and electric force share some key properties that make them unique compared to other forces:

They act over a distance – Unlike contact forces like friction and tension, these fundamental forces can act between objects that aren’t touching. Gravity holds the moon in orbit around Earth even though they don’t touch. Magnets can attract metals from a short distance away. Charged particles exert forces on each other across empty space.

They obey an inverse square law – The strength of these forces gets weaker with the square of the distance between objects. If you double the distance between two magnets, the magnetic force will be 1/4 as strong. This decay over distance is a signature of these fundamental forces.

They are very weak compared to other forces, except at small scales – On the scale of everyday objects the electromagnetic and gravitational forces are extremely weak compared to other forces like friction or molecular bonds. However, at the scale of atoms, electrons, and elementary particles, these fundamental forces become dominant and govern interactions.

Importance and Applications

Electric, magnetic, and gravitational forces are essential for understanding the motion, structure, and energy of matter across scales from subatomic particles to galaxies. These fundamental forces have a wide range of important practical applications in our everyday lives.

For example, electric and magnetic forces enable electric motors, generators, and transformers that are crucial for producing and distributing electricity to power homes, office buildings, factories, and cities. Generators in power plants use magnetic fields interacting with coils of wire to produce electricity. Electric motors in everything from kitchen appliances to hybrid cars operate due to the forces between electric currents and magnetic fields.

Particle accelerators that analyze the structure of matter and advanced experimental physics rely on manipulating electric and magnetic forces to accelerate charged particles to nearly the speed of light. Medical imaging techniques like MRI machines also employ magnetic fields to probe the interior of the human body.

Even gravitational forces are harnessed on practical scales with hydroelectric power from dams based on gravity’s influence on the flow of water. So these fundamental forces deeply shape both our daily lives and our scientific efforts to better understand the universe.

Current Research

Scientists continue to actively study and research the fundamental forces of nature. Major areas of focus include:

Studying gravitation, electromagnetism, nuclear forces: Researchers utilize particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider to analyze interactions between fundamental particles mediated by these forces. They hope to find gaps in the Standard Model that could point to new physics.

Developing unified field theory: A unified field theory aims to merge gravity with the other fundamental forces into a single theoretical framework. While Einstein spent decades searching for this theory, it remains elusive. String theory is one prominent contender.

Searching for new fundamental forces: While the four known fundamental forces explain much of the universe, scientists wonder if additional forces may exist. Experimental searches look for hypothetical forces like dark photons that could mediate a new interaction.

By furthering our understanding of fundamental physics, this research provides insights into the origins and laws governing the cosmos. The discoveries could have profound implications.

Interesting Facts

Although gravity is the weakest of the fundamental forces, its effects are the most noticeable to us at the human scale. Gravity controls the macroscopic world, governing the motions of planets, stars, and galaxies. Despite its weakness, gravity is able to hold large celestial objects together because of its infinite range.

While everyday magnets have two poles (north and south), some theoretical models suggest that single magnetic monopoles, with either a north or south pole, may exist. However, magnetic monopoles have still not been conclusively observed as fundamental particles.

The electric force is tremendously strong compared to gravity. Calculations show that the electric force is around 1036 times greater than the gravitational force between two protons. This explains why gravity has a negligible effect at smaller scales compared to the electrostatic forces between subatomic particles.


Gravity, electric force, and magnetic force are all examples of fundamental forces that are essential to our understanding of physics. They govern the behaviors and interactions of matter on scales ranging from subatomic particles to galaxies and beyond. Though they may seem very different, these three forces share some key commonalities.

Each fundamental force has its own carrier particle that mediates the interactions. Gravity is mediated by hypothetical gravitons, electric force by photons, and magnetic force by gluons. The forces also have infinite range, meaning they act over any distance, though their strength decreases with distance. Additionally, they are conservative forces, meaning the total energy of a system remains constant under their influence.

While we experience gravity and electric/magnetic forces very differently in daily life, our exploration of physics relies on understanding all three as examples of the underlying fundamental forces of nature. Recognizing their shared origins and characteristics has been pivotal in developing unified theories that describe the basic workings of the universe.

Further Reading

There are many excellent resources for learning more about fundamental forces like gravity, magnetism, and electricity:

  • Books like “The Feynman Lectures on Physics” by Richard Feynman provide in-depth explanations of these forces from a legendary physicist.
  • Online courses from sites like Coursera, edX, and Kahn Academy offer free classes on physics and electromagnetism.
  • Science magazines like Popular Science, Scientific American, and New Scientist frequently cover new discoveries about fundamental forces.
  • Many educational YouTube channels like Veritasium, MinutePhysics, and Physics Girl have great videos explaining these forces.
  • Physics textbooks like “University Physics” by Young and Freedman or Halliday and Resnick are standard references on forces.
  • Encyclopedias like Britannica and Wikipedia provide helpful overviews and summaries on gravity, magnetism and electricity.

With such a wealth of resources available, anyone can gain a deeper understanding of these foundational physics concepts.

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