There are, basically, five forces which we commonly encounter in mechanics problems, namely the weight, the normal forces, the friction force, the tension, the spring force.
Weight is the force with which the earth attracts other bodies. It is also called the force of gravity or the gravitational force. It acts upon all the bodies near the earth. If they do not fall to the earth, then their motion is restricted by certain other bodies : a support, string, spring, etc. Bodies that restrict the motion of other bodies are called constraints. These bodies restrict the motion of the given bodies, impeding free motion. For example, the surface of the table is the constraint for all objects lying on it, the floor serves as the constraint for the table, etc.
A block of mass experiences the force of gravity called weight.
The normal and tangential components of the contact forces shown on the block and the surface.
The component of the contact force parallel to the contact surface is called the frictional force. The direction of the frictional force is opposite to the relative motion (or attempted motion) of the two surfaces in contact.
The force exerted by the end of a taut string, rope or wire is called the tension. The direction of this force is such that the string pulls the object to which it is attached. It is difficult to push with a string.
When a spring is deformed (stretched or compressed), it resists the deformation by generating a force called the spring force.
The magnitude of spring force is proportional to the deformation as
where is called the stiffness constant or spring constant. In the vector form, it may be written as
The negative sign indicates that the spring force is always opposite to the direction of deformation.
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