What is g-Force? - Definition & Formula

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  • 0:00 What Is Gravitational Force?
  • 1:24 Gravitational Force Formula
  • 2:15 Using the Formula
  • 3:53 Example of G-Force
  • 5:12 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

Gravity is a word you must have heard many time before. Wherever you go on the planet, or any other planet for that matter, you'll be subjected to a force called the g-Force, otherwise known as gravitational force. Find out what this is along with a formula to calculate this force.

What is Gravitational Force?

What always happens when you throw a ball up in the air? It always comes down, doesn't it? It doesn't continue flying up, up, and away into outer space. In fact, you'd have to work really hard to even get that ball up into outer space. Why is this? This is because the planet Earth has what is called a gravitational force. This gravitational force, also called the g-force, is the force that pulls or attracts all physical objects towards the center of our planet. And actually, it's not just the earth that has a gravitational force. We mostly focus on the g-force of planets, but all physical objects have a certain amount of gravitational force to them.

g force

That's right. Even you yourself have a certain amount of gravitational force that attracts other objects to you. We don't see it because the earth's gravitational force overpowers anything we have and any similar force we experience from smaller objects.

Gravity is a force that attracts objects of mass towards each other. This gravitational force is the force that causes things to accelerate. So, it is the g-force that gives you the amount of acceleration caused by gravity. When you place a marble on the side of a hill, you'll see the marble begin to accelerate as it makes its way down to the bottom. That's gravity at work.

g force

Gravitational Force Formula

There is actually a formula you can use to help you calculate this gravitational attraction of any object:

g force

The little g stands for the amount of acceleration that is caused by gravity. This is what is commonly referred to as g-force. The big G is the Newton's gravitational constant, approximately 6.67 x 10-11 N * m2 / kg2. The little m stands for the mass of the object, and the r stands for the radius of the object. Usually, you'll calculate the g-force for large spherical objects like planets. You can calculate the g-force that your own body puts out, by approximating your body with a little sphere. But you will see that this force is very tiny when you compare it to the g-force of planet Earth.

Using the Formula

To use this formula to calculate the g-force of planet Earth, you'll input the mass of planet Earth along with its radius. The gravitational constant G remains the same no matter where you are in the universe as calculated by Isaac Newton - approximately 6.67 x 10-11 N * m2 / kg2.

Now, you might be wondering how in the world you're going to find out what the mass of the planet Earth is. But not to worry. This has already been done! Actually, this has been done for the radius of planet Earth, too. Here are the numbers.

g force

You'll use the numbers above in your equation for g-force and plug them in for the m and for the r. Let's evaluate it and get our answer.

g force

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