Although action and reaction forces are always equal in magnitude, they may not produce accelerations of equal magnitudes because each force acts on a different object with potentially different masses. Acceleration depends not only on the force applied but also on the mass of the object being accelerated, as described by Newton’s second law of motion.

# Why may the action and reaction forces not produce accelerations of equal magnitudes?

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Action and reaction forces, as described by Newton’s Third Law, are equal in magnitude but may not produce accelerations of equal magnitudes due to differences in mass. Newton’s Second Law states that F=ma, where F is the force, m is the mass, and a is the acceleration. If two objects with different masses experience action and reaction forces of equal magnitude, their resulting accelerations will differ because the acceleration is inversely proportional to the mass. A lighter object will experience a greater acceleration than a heavier one, even if both experience equal and opposite forces in compliance with Newton’s Third Law.