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Difference Between Gravitation and Gravity

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  • Last Updated : 22 Jun, 2022

In Physics, the terms gravitation and gravity are extremely similar. In most cases, these two terms are used interchangeably. Despite the fact that these two words sound similar, there is a distinction between gravitation and gravity. The active force between two bodies is gravity. 

Gravity, on the other hand, is the force that exists between an object and the very large object known as the earth. Gravitation is also defined as a force that is proportional to the product of the masses of both objects. Furthermore, it is inversely proportional to the square of their distance. Gravity is commonly thought of as a natural attribute of the earth, owing to which objects are drawn to it. We’ll look at various facts and the distinction between gravitation and gravity in this article.


What is Gravity?

All mass-supporting objects exert gravity on all other mass-supporting objects. The magnitude and strength of this force are determined by the mass of the objects involved. The orbits of the planets around the sun continue to move due to gravity. 

As a result, we can define gravity as a force that pulls a body toward the earth’s core. Gravity is a well-known phenomenon and plays an important role in the survival of life on Earth. The atmosphere of our planet is maintained by the gravitational pull between the Earth and the Sun. As a result, it is the reason for the air that humans need to breathe in order to survive. Not only that, but keep away from the sun too close.

Derivation of the formula for Gravity:

The earth exerts a gravitational pull towards itself, which attracts an item to it. Other objects, like the Moon, are dragged towards it by a force (F) that is directly proportional to the mass (M) of the object, i.e.

F  ∝  M

It is self-evident that a constant term is multiplied to the right-hand side to make it an equation, and in this case, the constant term is the acceleration due to gravity (g). 

As a result, 

F = Mg

The constant value of g is 9.8 m/s2, which is rounded off to 10 m/s2 for convenience of calculation. The value of g is not the same everywhere across the world.

What is Gravitation?

The force of attraction between any two objects in the universe is called gravitation. Everything in our universe attracts something else with some force. However, due to the weak nature of this force, it is often difficult for us to detect. Its weak property is mainly due to the large separation distance.  

However, the range of gravity is considered to be infinite. Sir Isaac Newton, a famous physicist, was the first to notice this. In 1680, he published his fundamental law of gravitation, Newton’s law. In fact, gravity is caused by the attraction of objects toward the earth.

Derivation of the formula for Gravitation:

The force of attraction between any two bodies is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them, according to Newton’s universal law of gravitation.

F ∝ (m1×m2)/r2

where F is the gravitational attraction force between two bodies. The masses of the two bodies are m1 and m2, and the distance between their center points is r2. A constant must be increased once more to equate F to the right-hand side. 

F=G.(m1 × m2)/r2

The universal constant, G, has a value of 6.67 × 10-11 Nm2/Kg2. The gravitational attraction between two objects that are very far apart is very weak, as seen by the minuscule value. The gravitational force has the same value everywhere in the universe.

Difference between Gravity and Gravitation



It could be an attracting or repulsive force, depending on the nature of the force. It’s always a sort of enticing energy.
The universal force is what it is referred to as. It isn’t thought of as a universal force.
The gravitational force acts in a radial direction away from the masses. This force is directed along the line connecting the earth’s center and the body’s center. It is continually striving to reach the earth’s core.
This is a very weak type of force. This is a powerful force.
This force is a physical quantity with a vector. The gravitational force has its own vector field.
When the distance between the bodies is infinity, the force will be zero. At the earth’s center, the gravitational force will be zero.
It necessitates the use of objects with two masses.  It simply needs one mass.

Sample Problems

Problem 1: Is Gravitation a Repelling or Attractive Force?


The gravitational force is purely attractive in both theories, according to Newton’s General Theory of Relativity. However, the quantization of gravity demonstrates that gravitational force can also be repulsive.

Problem 2: Why do we feel lighter on the equator than we do at the North Pole?


It’s because, in the equator, there’s more centrifugal force to counteract gravity’s effect. As a result, the equator has a lower overall weight than the poles.

Problem 3: What are the methods used by spaceships to create artificial gravity?


Because of its spin around its axis, a star ship can produce artificial gravity. A ship can also generate artificial gravity by constantly moving forward.

Problem 4: If the mass of the object is 10 Kg then what is the weight (in N) of an object?


Given – mass(M) = 10 Kg and we know g = 9.8 m/s2


W = Mg

= 10× 9.8

= 98 N

Problem 5: The gravitational force acts in proportion to the mass of all objects. So why does a heavy object fall slower than a light object?


When a heavy object falls, gravity’s acceleration ‘g’ takes effect, which is independent of the body’s mass.

g = GM/r2

Gravitation Force, 

F ∝ (m1×m2)/r2

Therefore, F and g, are not the same.

Question 6: What is the gravitational force between the earth and a 2-kilogram object on its surface in terms of magnitude? [The earth’s mass is 6 ×1024 kg, and its radius is 6.4 x 106 m.]


The formula determines the magnitude of the gravitational force between the earth and an object.

F = G (m1×m2)/r2

m1 = 6×1024 Kg , m2 = 2 Kg , r = 6.4 x 106 m , G = 6.67 × 10-11 Nm2/Kg2.

F = 6.67× 10-11 × 6×1024 × 2/(6.4 x 106)2

= 19.6 N

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