We know Newton's three laws:

  1. A object at rest will remain at rest, and an object in motion will remain in motion unless a external force acts upon it.

  2. If an unbalanced force acts on a object, the object will accelerate in the direction of the net force.

  3. If an object $A$ exerts a force on object $B$, then object $B$ will exert a equal force to object $A$ in the opposite direction. $F_{a\text{ on }b} = -F_{b\text{ on }a}$

What I think is that as you throw the snow, it begins moving at a constant velocity. However, when the shovel stops moving, the snow will remain in motion, causing it to accelerate/fly toward the snow bank, according to Newton's first law. But is the snow accelerating when it leaves the shovel? How does this apply to Newton's second law? Thanks!


1 Answer 1


You have it backwards, in fact when the shovel is moving a force is applied to the snow ball and when the shovel stops its movement the force will be zero due to Newton's second law: $F=ma$; if the acceleration is zero then the force is zero. Anyway the ball will keep moving because of the inertia.

  • $\begingroup$ The force will actually not be zero, since gravity will still be acting on the snow (you could even include drag from the atmosphere). But you are correct that it will keep moving due to its own inertia. $\endgroup$
    – fibonatic
    Apr 6, 2014 at 14:25
  • $\begingroup$ Yes you are right $\endgroup$
    – PunkZebra
    Apr 6, 2014 at 20:56
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry if my grammar isn't really good but English is not my mother tongue... $\endgroup$
    – PunkZebra
    Apr 6, 2014 at 21:01

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