Define Inertia And Give An Example Of Narrative Essay

Inertia was best explained by Sir Isaac Newton in his first law of motion. Basically, the law of motion is that an object at rest stays at rest and an object continues in motion until an external force acts on it.

Taking a Look at Inertia Examples

  • One's body movement to the side when a car makes a sharp turn.
  • Tightening of seat belts in a car when it stops quickly.
  • A ball rolling down a hill will continue to roll unless friction or another force stops it.
  • Men in space find it more difficult to stop moving because of a lack of gravity acting against them.
  • If pulled quickly, a tablecloth can be removed from underneath of dishes. The dishes have the tendency to remain still as long as the friction from the movement of the tablecloth is not too great.
  • Shaking a bottle of ketchup. When bringing the bottom down, the suddenly stopping it, inertia is what causes the ketchup to come out of the bottle.
  • When playing football, a player is tackled and his head hits the ground. The impact stops his skull, but his brain continues to move and hit the inside of his skull. His brain is showing inertia.
  • If one drove a car directly into a brick wall, the car would stop because of the force exerted upon it by the wall. However, the driver requires a force to stop his body from moving, such as a seatbelt, otherwise inertia will cause his body to continue moving at the original speed until his body is acted upon by some force.
  • Hovercraft are vehicles that can be a challenge to manipulate because, unlike cars, they do not have the same level of friction, so inertia causes the Hovercraft to want to continue in its same direction without stopping or turning.
  • Abruptly stopping a cart with an object on top causes the object on top to fall off. Inertia causes this by making the object want to continue moving in the direction that it was.
  • If a stopped car is hit by a moving car from behind, the passengers inside may experience whiplash as a result of the body moving forward but the head lagging behind. The head is experiencing inertia.
  • If a car is moving forward it will continue to move forward unless friction or the brakes interfere with its movement.
  • When a baseball is thrown it will continue to move forward until acted upon by gravity. The greater the force of the throw, the harder it is for gravity to act upon it.
  • A hockey puck will continue to slide across ice until acted upon by an outside force.
  • A balloon in a car will appear to move when the car moves forward, but the balloon is actually attempting to stay in the place it was, it is only the car that is moving.
  • When a car is abruptly accelerated, drivers and passengers may feel as though their bodies are moving backward. In reality, inertia is making the body want to stay in place as the car moves forward.
  • If an index card is placed on top of a glass with a penny on top of it, the index card can be quickly removed while the penny falls straight into the glass, as the penny is demonstrating inertia.
  • If you jump from a car of bus that is moving, your body is still moving in the direction of the vehicle. When your feet hit the ground, the grounds act on your feet and they stop moving. You will fall because the upper part of your body didn’t stop and you will fall in the direction you were moving.
  • When you stir coffee or tea and stop, the swirling motion continues due to inertia.
  • Objects that establish orbit around the earth, like satellites, continue on their trajectory due to inertia.
  • Inertia of rest is an object staying where it is placed and it will stay there until you or something else moves it.
  • If you throw a rock straight up, it will not vary from its direction. This is an example of inertia of direction.
  • Inertia enables ice skaters to glide on the ice in a straight line.
  • If the wind is blowing, a tree’s branches are moving. A piece of ripe fruit that falls from the tree will fall in the direction the wind is moving because of inertia.
  • When peddling a bicycle, if you stop pedaling, the bike continues going until friction or gravity slows it down.
  • When pulling a Band-Aid off, it is better to pull it fast. Your skin will remain at rest due to inertia and the force pulls the Band-Aid off.
  • A car that is moving will continue even if you switch the engine off.
  • If a ball is on a slanted surface and you let go, gravity will make it roll down the slope. It has inertia and if there is a level area at the bottom of the slope, it will continue moving.
  • When entering a building through a rotating door, inertia will allow the door to hit you in the back if you don’t get out of the way.
  • If you are rolling a cart with something on top and you hit something that makes the cart stop, what is on top may fall off.
  • It is harder to stop a big vehicle, like a bus, than a smaller vehicle, like a motorcycle. There is more inertia with the bigger object.
  • A concussion occurs because your brain is still moving while the outside skull is stopped. This is what causes the injury.
  • Space probes are launched to get past the Earth’s atmosphere. Then they coast due to inertia.
  • If you are on a train and the train is moving at a constant speed, a toy tossed into the air will go straight up and then come down. This is because the toy has inertia like the train and you. 

See if you can recognize inertia when it occurs over the course of your day.

Do you have a good example to share? Add your example here.

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Examples of Inertia

By YourDictionary

Inertia was best explained by Sir Isaac Newton in his first law of motion. Basically, the law of motion is that an object at rest stays at rest and an object continues in motion until an external force acts on it.


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Centuries of thought and experimentation by several of the greatest minds to ever walk the earth have contributed to the awareness of this property of matter known as Inertia. It all began with the investigation of an ancient Greek scientist and philosopher by the name of Aristotle. Through countless observations and hypotheses, Aristotle grew almost certain of a few things involving motion.
     Aristotle’s findings suggested mainly that Earthly objects seek their natural place at rest. This natural place related to earth, water, air and fire respectably. He also believed that motion must be subjected to unnatural force, meaning motion could not come about without it. In order to maintain this motion, Aristotle stated that force must be applied to the object constantly. These four statements were considered concrete in the world of physics for nearly two thousand years after Aristotle’s passing. It would take an Italian physicist and astronomer named Galileo to eventually disprove his thoughts on motion.
     Galileo proposed his formulation of the concept of inertia, which is the property of matter that causes it to resist any change of its motion in either direction or speed. In other words, if an object in a state of motion possesses an “inertia”, it causes the object to remain in that state of motion unless an external force acts on it. Galileo figured this out by first meticulously observing Aristotle’s concept of motion. By virtue of a series of experiments, Galileo realized that the analysis of Aristotle was incorrect because it failed to account properly for a hidden force, the frictional force between the surface and the object. For example if one were to push a block of wood across a table, there would be two opposing forces that act, one of them being the force associated with the push and the other, the force that is associated with the friction, which acts in the opposite direction. Galileo realized as the frictional forces were decreased the object would move further and further before stopping.
     An English mathematician and physicist by the name of Sir Issac Newton would later develop Galilieo’s idea of inertia into one of his three scientific laws. Aware of other factors that played a roll in the theory of inertia, Newton proposed two other laws that supported it. They are included in his famous three laws of motion. The first law of motion states "a body in motion shall remain in motion moving with a constant speed and direction, unless acted on by an outside force".

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Inertia." 13 Mar 2018

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Inertia         Opposing Forces         Ancient Greek         Concrete         Formulation         Motion         Italian         Hypotheses         Friction         Direction        

The second law of motion states "the magnitude of the force is proportional to the mass of the object being moved and the product of its change in velocity with respect to time". The third law of motion states "for every force there is an equal opposite force".
     Although Galileo might have proved Aristotle wrong, the simple fact that Aristotle thought of the concept to begin with proved to be paramount in the world of science, specifically the branch known as physics. In other words if Aristotle hadn’t proposed his theory of motion, Galileo would probably not have even thought of “motion”, let alone make observations on it. Therefore inertia and the other laws of motion should be credited to these three men and everyone else involved.

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