What are Contact and Non Contact Forces? – Difference Between Contact and Non Contact Forces

Basic Understanding of Contact Force and Non Contact Force

When studying physics, one encounters the concepts of contact and non-contact forces. These forces play a crucial role in explaining the interactions between objects in the world around us. Understanding the fundamental differences between contact and non-contact forces is essential for grasping the principles of physics. 

What is Contact Force?

Contact force is defined as the force that acts on an object through direct contact with another object. This force only occurs when two objects are in physical contact with each other and can result from various interactions, such as pushing, pulling, or friction. 

Few Contact Force Examples

Here are a few examples of contact force for better understanding, 

  • Friction: When you rub your hands together, the resistance you feel is due to the contact force of friction. 
  • Tension: The force experienced by a rope or string when it is pulled taut. 
  • Normal Force: The force exerted by a surface that supports an object resting on it. 

Types of Contact Force

The types of contact force are explained below, 

  1. Frictional Force: Friction is a contact force that opposes the motion of objects sliding past each other. It arises due to the microscopic roughness of surfaces in contact. 
  2. Tension Force: Tension is the force experienced by a rope, string, or any other object pulled taut. It acts along the direction of the string and is transmitted through the length of the object. 
  3. Normal Force: When an object rests on a surface, the surface exerts a force perpendicular to it, known as the normal force. This force prevents the object from passing through the surface. 
  4. Applied Force: Any force directly applied to an object through physical contact is considered one. This could include pushing, pulling, or hitting an object. 

What is Non-Contact Force?

Conversely, non-contact force is the force that acts on an object without direct contact. These forces can influence an object from a distance and are based on fields like gravitational, magnetic, and electrical fields. 

Examples of Non Contact Force for Better Understanding 

The following are the best examples of non contact force. 

  • Gravitational Force: The force of attraction between two objects due to their mass. 
  • Electrostatic Force: The force between charges at a distance in static electricity. 
  • Magnetic Force: The force exerted between magnets without direct contact. 

Non Contact Force Types

Here are the types of non contact forces, 

  1. Gravitational Force: The gravitational force is present between any two objects that have mass. It acts to draw these objects towards each other and is the force behind the orbits of planets around stars. 
  2. Electrostatic Force: Electrostatic force arises between objects that carry electric charges. When objects have similar charges, they push each other away, whereas objects with opposite charges are attracted to each other. 
  3. Magnetic Force: The force between magnetic objects that do not require physical contact. 

Difference Between Contact Force and Non Contact Force

The major difference between contact and non contact force is tabulated below, 

Aspect  Contact Force  Non-Contact Force 
Basis of Interaction  Requires Physical Touch between Objects  Acts at a Distance without Physical Contact 
Examples  Friction, Tension, Normal Force, Applied Force  Gravity, Magnetism, Electrostatics 
Nature of Force  Arises from Direct Contact  Acts without Direct Contact 
Mediating Object  Objects Physically Touching  No Direct Physical Connection 
Range  Limited to Contact Area  Acts Over a Distance 
Direction  Can Act in Any Direction  Depends on Relative Positions 
Strength  Generally stronger due to direct contact  May vary based on the distance and properties of objects 
Influence  More localized, affects immediate surroundings  Can exert influence over larger distances 
Examples in Nature  Pushing a box, squeezing a ball  Gravity holds planets in orbit, magnets attracting objects 


In conclusion, understanding the distinctions between contact and non-contact forces is essential for comprehending the physical world around us. While contact forces are based on direct interactions, non-contact forces act at a distance through fields. Both types of forces play vital roles in shaping the laws of physics and the behavior of objects. 

This article extensively discusses the concepts of contact force and non-contact force, elucidating the disparities between the two with thorough explanations, types, and illustrative examples. Explore our blog section for similar insightful breakdowns of various concepts. Tutoroot offers personalized one-on-one online tuition sessions with doubt-clearing sessions and study materials for those seeking comprehensive understanding. Click here now to schedule a FREE DEMO and embark on your learning journey. 


Q: What is non-contact force?

A: Non-contact force is a type of force that acts between objects without direct physical contact. 

Q: Can you provide examples of contact and non-contact forces?  

A: Examples of contact forces include friction, tension, and normal force. Non-contact forces include gravity, magnetism, and electrostatic force. 

Q: What are the types of non-contact forces?  

A: The types of non-contact forces include gravitational force, magnetic force, and electrostatic force. 

Q: How do you define non-contact force?  

A: Non-contact force is a force that acts between objects without the need for direct physical contact. 

Q: What are the different types of contact forces?  

A: The different types of contact forces include frictional force, tension force, normal force, and applied force. 

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