Physics in Construction and in Every day Life

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Physics is involved in everyday life, and some activities are dependent on understanding physics, even when you aren’t really thinking about it. While the principals of physics are applied to construction, there are many different ways in which physics affect us.

Below, read a discussion of at least four examples coming from Leon Griffin, a concrete contractor and a small business owner in Virginia Beach. They do mostly residential concrete work and specialize in broom finish and stamped cement.

So, the main principals of physics, part from Newton’s three laws of motion. They are as follows:

  • The Law of Inertia: “An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force. An object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”
  • The Second of Motion: “Acceleration is produced when a force acts on a mass. The greater the mass (of the object being accelerated) the greater the amount of force needed to accelerate the object.”
  • The Third Law of Motion: “For every action there is an equal and opposite re-action.”

In consideration of the above, I have listed four ways in which I use the principals of physics.


In the morning, I start my vehicle at least five minutes before leaving the house, in an effort to cool it down as I turn the AC on. When my vehicle is parked in the driveway, there is no motion to it. It is standing still yet has the potential of being of being driven off when the gear is shifted to drive or reverse. In the conditions listed above, my vehicle’s energy is in the form of potential energy.

One of my hobbies consists of archery. When the arrow is in place on the string and drawn back, a force is created which will determine the speed, direction, and reference point of the shot. Once the string is released, the arrow will travel to my desired object. Drawing back the bow, allows for acceleration. The more the string is pulled backwards, the higher the velocity of the arrow. This example meets the criteria of kinetics energy.


I play soccer weekly, and as part of my practice for aim, strength, and speed, the ball is kicked onto a wall with targets. This exercise allows me to measure the strength with which the ball was kicked, as opposed to kicking it into a goal. When the ball bounces back with high velocity and returns to me. This is also an example of kinetics energy.


I practice speed skating, and in order to have a great amount of acceleration, more force and strength needs to be applied from my lower body. Once speed has been gained, I can skate smoothly around the rink as speed slows down with unbalanced forces. Eventually, these forces will cause the skates to decrease the speed and come to a complete stop.

A specific example of physics, lies in the way that rollercoasters are constructed. A roller coaster is usually designed to give its riders the sense of defying the laws of gravity. Sometimes the back car is moving slightly faster than the others, thanks to the acceleration due to gravity, and at other times the first car is going slightly faster. With that in mind, while all carts will come across the same acceleration and deceleration points, the points of gravity are felt differently in accordance to the location of the chosen cart.


The middle carts provide a smoother ride as push and pull are pretty equal at the middle point. The front carts will go slower when going up a high, as it is basically pulling the carts behind it in an upwards position. When the first cart goes down, it begins a domino process and each cart after, will begin to accelerate. For this reason, the last cart in the roller coaster, will have much more gravitational force than any other, as the ones ahead of it are pulling it down. The benefit of the front cart mainly pertains to an open view which may enhance the experience. While the last cart will have the best gravitational effect, the view may be impaired by the carts in front of it.


In an effort to maximize the effects of a rollercoaster on everyone, carts should be aligned in a horizontal way where acceleration and deceleration are equal to all of the passengers.