"A student pushes horizontally on two boxes. The boxes are moving to the right at a constant velocity. Box 1 has more mass than Box 2. There is friction between the boxes and the table."
The first question in regards to the situation, was…
"For a situation in which the boxes would be slowing down, which of the following statements is true about the magnitude of the forces?"
Out of the multiple choices I had, it was clear to me that the following answer was true:
"The magnitude of the force that box 1 exerts on box 2 is equal to the force that box 2 exerts on box 1." – This is due to Newton’s 3rd law.
However, I have a question in regards to net force. The next question was asking, in the same situation where the boxes are slowing down, which box has the larger net force and which direction is the net force in? I am confused on the difference between net force and the magnitude of the force. If the magnitude of the force is the same between both objects in the interaction, what exactly is the net force and how is it different than the magnitude of the force?