What are Balanced Forces and Unbalanced Forces? – Difference, Examples

Understanding the concepts of balanced and unbalanced forces is fundamental in physics. These forces govern the motion and stability of objects, affecting everything from everyday activities to complex engineering systems. This article will explore the definitions, characteristics, formulas, and examples of balanced and unbalanced forces. Additionally, we’ll highlight the differences between these two types of forces in a tabulated format to aid in comprehension. 

What is a Balanced Force?

A balanced force occurs when two or more forces acting on an object are equal in magnitude but opposite in direction. These forces cancel each other out, resulting in no net force acting on the object. Consequently, an object under balanced forces remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity. 

A few Balanced Force Examples

The examples of balanced force are given below, 

  1. Tug of War: When two teams pull with equal force, the rope does not move in either direction. 
  2. Book on a Table: The gravitational force pulling the book down is balanced by the normal force exerted by the table, keeping the book stationary. 
  3. Hanging Picture: The forces exerted by the nails on either side of the picture balance each other, preventing it from moving. 

Characteristics of Balanced Force

Here are the key characteristics of balanced force: 

  • The object either stays still or continues to move at a steady speed. 
  • The object’s motion does not change. 
  • The total force acting on the object is zero. 
  • The forces are of equal strength and act in opposite directions. 

Balanced Force Formula

The formula for balanced forces is straightforward: the sum of all forces acting on an object equals zero. Mathematically, this is expressed as: 

\(F_{net}= \Sigma F=0\)


\(F_{net}\) represents the net force

\( \Sigma F\) is the sum of all individual forces acting on the object.

What is an Unbalanced Force?

An unbalanced force occurs when two or more forces acting on an object are not equal, resulting in a net force that causes a change in the object’s motion. This can mean the object accelerates, decelerates, or changes direction. 

Unbalanced Force Examples

Below are a few examples of unbalanced forces for a better understanding 

  1. Pushing a Car: If you push a car and it starts moving, the force you applied is unbalanced compared to the friction and other resistances. 
  2. Kicking a Ball: When you kick a ball, the force from your foot is greater than the forces acting in the opposite direction, causing the ball to move. 
  3. Sliding a Book: If you slide a book across a table, the force you apply to push the book is unbalanced compared to the frictional force. 

Characteristics of Unbalanced Force

The key characteristics of unbalanced force are given below, 

  • The object changes its state of motion (accelerates, decelerates, or changes direction). 
  • The net force exerted on the object is not zero. 
  • The forces acting on the object are not of equal magnitude. 
  • The object experiences a change in velocity or direction. 

Difference Between Balanced Force and Unbalanced Force

Here is a tabulated comparison to highlight the key differences between balanced and unbalanced forces: 

Balanced Force and Unbalanced Force Difference

Parameter  Balanced Force  Unbalanced Force 
Net Force  Zero  Non-zero 
State of Motion  Remains constant (either at rest or in uniform motion)  Changes (accelerates, decelerates, or changes direction) 
Magnitude of Forces  Equal  Unequal 
Direction of Forces  Opposite  Can be in any direction 
Effect on Object  No change in motion  Causes change in motion 
Example 1  Book on a table  Kicking a ball 
Example 2  Hanging picture  Pushing a car 
Resultant Force  Zero (forces cancel out)  Non-zero resultant force 
Velocity  Constant (if already moving)  Changes (increase or decrease) 
Application in Equilibrium  Maintains equilibrium  Disrupts equilibrium 

Balanced Force vs Unbalanced Force – Overview

In summary, balanced forces keep an object in its current state of motion, whether that be at rest or moving at a constant velocity. In contrast, unbalanced forces result in a change in the object’s motion, leading to acceleration or deceleration. Recognizing the distinction between these two types of forces is essential for understanding the principles of mechanics and motion. 

Final Notes

Balanced and unbalanced forces play a crucial role in the physical world, influencing how objects move and interact. By grasping these concepts, students, and enthusiasts can gain a deeper appreciation for the laws of physics that govern everyday phenomena. 

Looking for clear and simple explanations of complex concepts, just like this one? Check out the Tutoroot Blog for easy-to-understand learning resources. Enhance your understanding of various subjects and get your questions answered with Tutoroot’s physics online tuition. Start your learning journey with Tutoroot’s online home tuitions by scheduling a FREE DEMO session today.


What are balanced and unbalanced forces? 

Balanced forces are forces that are equal in magnitude but opposite in direction, resulting in no change in an object’s motion. Unbalanced forces are forces that are not equal, causing a change in an object’s motion. 

What are balanced and unbalanced forces examples? 

Examples of balanced forces include a book resting on a table and a hanging picture. Examples of unbalanced forces include kicking a ball and pushing a car. 

What is the difference between balanced forces and unbalanced forces? 

The difference lies in the net force and the resulting motion. Balanced forces result in no change in motion (net force is zero), while unbalanced forces cause a change in motion (net force is non-zero). 

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