My question is about prepositions used in a scientific context. When we are talking about forces, it seems natural to me to use the well-established phrasal verb "apply to", as in the following sentence:

"The force applied by object A to object B is 20 N."

However, I do not know whether or not the following is correct:

"The force applied by object A on object B is 20 N."


Taken from https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/apply-to-apply-at-apply-on.2136629/

To - You are referring to some surface, and the force is applied to the entire surface area equally. (I don't think on should be used in this case)

On - You are referring to some surface, and a force is applied only to a small point of that surface (to can probably safely be used in this case as well)

At - It's possible that the force is not even applied on the surface at all. Receiving point could be a location (not an object). You walk to that location, and then apply a force to some other object. In this case, at refers simply to the location that some action is taking place, not the target of that action.

Note that in the case of to/on, if "receiving point" refers to a specific small area on a larger surface, then the force would be applied to the receiving point, but on or to the receiving surface.

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