Difference Between Force and Momentum

Force vs Momentum

Force and momentum are two concepts that are used in mechanics to describe statics or dynamics of bodies. Force and momentum are among the foundation and basic concepts involved in physics. It is vital to have a good understanding of both force and momentum in order to excel in any field even remotely connected with physics. We will see that concepts of force and momentum have many variations and forms, which are useful in many ways; the different forms are used in different methods for calculations. In this article, we are going to see what force and momentum are, the definitions of force and momentum, what are the different types of force and momentum, their similarities and finally their differences.


The common interpretation of force is the ability to do work. However, all forces do not do work. Some forces merely attempt to do work, and, there are other causes to work apart from force. Heat is also capable of doing work. The proper definition of force is “any influence that causes or attempt to cause a free body to undergo a change in the acceleration or the shape of the body.” Acceleration can be changed either by changing the velocity of the object or by changing the direction of the object or both. There are two main types of forces according to the classical model. Namely, contact forces and forces at a distance (or commonly known as field forces). Contact forces are forces used in everyday incidents such as pushing or pulling an object. Field forces include gravitational forces, magnetic forces, and electric forces. Forces such as static friction, surface tension, and reactive forces are responsible for keeping the objects in static conditions. Forces such as gravitational force, electric force, and magnetic force are responsible for keeping the world and the cosmos together. If a net force is acting upon any object, the object must have an acceleration, which is proportional to the force and inversely proportional to the mass of the object. In SI units, F = ma, where F is the net force, m is the mass of the object, and a is the acceleration. Force is measured in newton named in honor of Sir. Isaac Newton.


Momentum is a measurement of the inertia of an object. It is divided into two main types. One is the linear momentum, and the other is the angular momentum. Linear momentum is defined as the product of the mass and velocity of the object. Angular momentum is defined as the produce of moment of inertia and angular velocity of the object. Both these are measurements of the current inertia of the system, which tells us how hard it is to change the state of the system. A change of momentum always requires a net force or torque acting upon the object. Momentum is a relativistic variant. However, angular momentum is one of the basic properties of matter, which are conserved anywhere.

What is the difference between Force and Momentum?

• Force is an external cause, while momentum is an internal property of matter.

• A force is required to change the momentum of any object.

• The net force on an object can be defined as the change of momentum per unit time.

• Both force and momentum are vectors.

• Force is the time derivative of the momentum.