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57
votes
8answers
25k views

Does centrifugal force exist?

Currently in my last year of high school, and I have always been told that centrifugal force does not exist by my physics teachers. Today my girlfriend in the year below asked me what centrifugal ...
50
votes
5answers
8k views

Why would a spinning space station create a centrifugal force on an astronaut rather than simply spinning around him/her?

We often see films with spinning space station that create artificial gravity by having the astronauts pulled outwards by centrifugal force. I'd like to know if this would really happen, and if so, ...
47
votes
7answers
5k views

Why is the Earth so fat?

I made a naive calculation of the height of Earth's equatorial bulge and found that it should be about 10km. The true height is about 20km. My question is: why is there this discrepancy? The ...
41
votes
8answers
11k views

Why doesn't a bike/bicycle fall if going with a high speed?

Why does a bike/bicycle fall when its speed is very low or close to zero and is balanced when going with a high speed?
41
votes
6answers
9k views

Pouring water in an aircraft while upside down?

What is the physics behind the following photo? Someone had told me that this is because the aircraft might be moving towards a lower altitude, but I am still not sure.
32
votes
4answers
11k views

Why can't we feel the Earth turning?

The Earth turns with a very high velocity, around its own axis and around the Sun. So why can't we feel that it's turning, but we can still feel earthquake.
19
votes
7answers
49k views

Gravity on the International Space Station

We created a table in my physics class which contained the strength of gravity on different planet and objects in space. At altitude 0(earth), the gravitational strength is 100%. On the moon at ...
17
votes
4answers
3k views

Is the centrifugal force a real force?

Everyone calls the centrifugal force a pseudo force and claims that it is not really present, even though there are so many machines listed as taking advantage of it (e.g. centrifuge, washing machine, ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Weightlessness in Satellites

The following is written in my textbook as the reason for weightlessness felt in satellites: The gravitational pull is counterbalanced by the centripetal force. This introduces two problems: ...
11
votes
1answer
14k views

Derivation of the centrifugal and coriolis force

I was wondering how easily these two pseudo-forces can be derived mathematically in order to exhibit a clear physical meaning. How would you proceed?
10
votes
1answer
4k views

Fluid in a rotating cylinder

I have been wondering why a fluid in a rotating container has a parabola shape? Is it possible to prove this mathematically?
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Shape of rotating rope (lasso problem?)

Let's take a wire or a rope. I usually do this with a chain or my scarf. I fixate one end in my hand and apply rotation (by subtle movements of this endpoint like spinning a lasso). The rope gets ...
9
votes
4answers
9k views

What is the cause of centripetal/centrifugal force?

What is the cause of centripetal/centrifugal force? When an object of mass $m$ is moved in a circular orbit, it experiences a centrifugal force radially away from the center. What is the cause of this ...
8
votes
8answers
16k views

Is there a huge difference between centrifugal and centripetal forces?

I am doing a video for 8th grade on the subject. I'm showing the experiment of swinging a bucket of water over your head. Is there a huge difference between centrifugal and centripetal forces? Would ...
7
votes
3answers
998 views

Will a machine or a technique ever be possible that allows artificial gravity in interplanetary space?

Will a machine or a technique ever be possible that allows artificial gravity in interplanetary space? And I ask out of pure curiosity. I know there is the "Vomit Comet" that allows for a non-gravity ...
7
votes
2answers
561 views

How many Gs are my clothes experiencing in my washer? [closed]

During a spin cycle I got curious: How many Gs are at play in my simple washing machine? We can assume the drum is 50 cm wide and spins at 1500 rpm.
7
votes
11answers
1k views

Why is centrifugal 'force' perpendicular to line of inertia

I know that centrifugal is labeled a fictitious force only arising in a rotating reference frame, but I still struggle to understand the forces at play intuitively in tethered rotating bodies. I've ...
7
votes
2answers
892 views

Confusion with derivation of fictitious forces

I read the mathematical derivation of fictitious forces on Wikipedia and I'm having trouble understanding it. I went on a few other sites looking for a better derivation, but they're all basically the ...
6
votes
4answers
27k views

Why is Earth's gravity stronger at the poles?

Many sources state that the Earth's gravity is stronger at the poles than the equator for two reasons: The centrifugal "force" cancels out the gravity minimally, more so at the equator than at the ...
6
votes
2answers
771 views

Why don't we consider centrifugal force on a mass placed on earth?

Let us say a block of mass is placed on the surface of earth. Then while drawing the forces on that body, we say: Force $F = mg$ acting towards the center of Earth. Normal reaction $N$ offered by ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Centrifugal Force

When a body is in circular motion, realistically, it experiences only the centripetal force, created by gravitational pull, tension etc. , which gives it acceleration towards the centre. Now, assuming ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

MotoGP motorcycles lift front wheel while exiting curve

I've seen multiple times now in MotoGP that motorcycles were leaving a curve, and because of the acceleration the front wheel is slightly leaving the ground. But at the same time they were still ...
5
votes
3answers
537 views

Why don't astronauts in orbit get stuck to the “ceiling”?

When a shuttle is in orbit, it is essentially rotating around the "centre" of the Earth at a great speed. So why does there seem to be no centrifugal force sticking them to the 'ceiling' of the ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

“Artificial gravity” on a rotating space stations

There have been a lot of sci-fi shows recently using the "rotating space station" explanation for gravity on space stations. After watching these videos: ...
5
votes
7answers
2k views

Do centripetal and reactive centrifugal forces cancel each other out?

In order for a body to move with uniform velocity in a circular path, there must exist some force towards the centre of curvature of the circular path. This is centripetal force. By Newton's Third ...
5
votes
3answers
10k views

Does Earth's Rotation Affect Its Shape?

The question I am working on is, "Consider the following. (a) Find the angular speed of Earth's rotation about its axis. rad/s (b) How does this rotation affect the shape of Earth?" I ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Centrifugal Force and Polar Coordinates

In Classical Mechanics, both Goldstein and Taylor (authors of different books with the same title) talk about the centrifugal force term when solving the Euler-Lagrange equation for the two body ...
5
votes
1answer
281 views

Imaginary angle on simple centrifugal problem

Say somebody is spinning a mass on a string with a period $T$ around. If $T$ is very big, the mass will describe a small circle around the person's waist. If $T$ is very small, the plane of movement ...
5
votes
1answer
205 views

Speed to run a loop

So this guy was the first to run a loop and in this (german) article (and also in the video) a certain speed (13.8km/h) is mentioned. Why must he run at this speed and not just "as fast as possible"? ...
5
votes
1answer
297 views

Pendulum in a Turning Airplane

My friend and I are having an argument over what happens with a pendulum hanging inside an airplane during a turn. Assuming that the airplane is making a standard 1 G coordinated turn, how does the ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Why are people weightless whilst in orbit around the Earth? ISS? Satellites? [duplicate]

Had physics for 2 years now on highschool, but there is a thing I am wondering about. You know the in the height above the earth surface around where the satellites are (Or the ISS), I've calculated ...
4
votes
2answers
506 views

Rivers that flow “uphill” due to Earth's rotation

One of the fun tidbits that gets bandied around in physics departments is that the Mississippi River actually flows away from the center of the Earth. Due to the Earth's oblateness, the source of the ...
4
votes
4answers
435 views

What is an intuitive explanation using forces for the equatorial bulge?

The earth is not a sphere, because it bulges at the equator. I tried fiddling with centripetal force equations and gravity, but I couldn't derive why this bulge occurs. Is there (a) a ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Increasing mass' effect on the balance between centripetal force and centrifugal force

Okay, this is nothing more than a thought experiment which popped into my head while driving home from work today. Take the case of a single body orbiting another, larger body, as in a planet and a ...
4
votes
2answers
257 views

Can structural trusses in centrifuges be helpful at all?

Imagine a rotating space station for the purpose of creating artificial gravity. Generally, such a space station is portrayed as a ring or a cylinder. Images of these space stations often have lines ...
4
votes
2answers
507 views

Mixing a cup of tea and break of centrifugal force [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Vortex in liquid collects particles in center Why when you mix a cup of tea with a teaspoon, tea-craps collect in the center of cup, instead of goes near the walls?
3
votes
4answers
15k views

How does centrifugal force work?

I know what centrifugal force is, but how does it work? Why are things forced to the outside?
3
votes
3answers
497 views

Shape of a rotating fluid surface

I was going through fluid dynamics and I came upon this section on the shape of a liquid surface in a rotating cylindrical vessel. The working in the book is something like this: It considers a mass ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

How you feel in outer space vs. orbit?

I understand that when someone is in low earth orbit, the "pull" of their inertia is equal to the pull of gravity. However, the force of gravity is still acting on them. However, if they are in outer ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Fictitious forces confusion

I have a hard time understanding the subject of fictitious forces. Let's discuss a few examples: 1) I'm sitting inside a vehicle which is accelerating in a straight line. I feel like someone is ...
3
votes
2answers
70 views

Would there be a “freefall zone” in the centre of a centrifugal artificial gravity?

In the novel Schismatrix, Bruce Sterling writes about people living on the inside of rotating cylinders (similar to Larry Niven's Ringworld and Iain M. Banks' Orbitals, but the atmosphere extends ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

What provides the centrifugal force for planets orbiting a star?

this is a question I had when I was a kid. I'm a bit ashamed because I think I am missing out on something very obvious since I have the same question despite almost being an engineer now! From ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Will two trains running along the equator in opposite direction experience same wear out?

Two identical trains, at the equator start travelling round the world in opposite directions. They start together, run at the same speed and are on different tracks. Which train will wear out its ...
3
votes
3answers
5k views

If the earth would stop spinning, what would happen?

What would happen if the earth would stop spinning? How much heavier would we be? I mean absolutely stop spinning. How much does the centrifugal force affect us? If you give technical answers (please ...
3
votes
2answers
727 views

How does the kinetic energy of a ballerina increase? [duplicate]

When a ballerina pulls her arms in, her rotational kinetic energy increases because angular momentum is conserved. That means that work must have been done on her. I saw somewhere that there is work ...
3
votes
2answers
240 views

Saturn's polar versus equatorial gravity

Wikipedia's reference for Saturn's gravity gives $10.44 m/s^2$ at the equator, but this conflicts with Britannica, which gives $8.96 m/s^2$ at the equator and $12.14 m/s^2$ at the poles. All values ...
3
votes
2answers
379 views

Centripetal force in frame of reference of body moving In a circle

Suppose a body is moving in a circle about a fixed point. In the frame of reference of the body, is the centripetal force felt or is only the centrifugal force felt? More generally, does a body only ...
3
votes
1answer
487 views

Can we measure the “Tilt-A-Whirl” effect of the Earth+Sun orbiting the galactic hub?

You've probably ridden on the fairground ride called the "Tilt-A-Whirl", or--as Disneyland calls it--the "Spinning Teacups", as well as other fairground rides that employ epicycles. You can really ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Conical vs Simple Pendulum

I don't understand why the Tension $T$ on a conical pendulum and a simple pendulum are different. In a simple pendulum, one would say that the tension of the rope is $T=mg \cos(\theta)$. However, ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Could a human run horizontally inside a Wall of Death?

A popular circus stunt is for a motorcycle rider to ride inside a bowl shaped depression called a "Wall of Death." The rider goes higher and higher up the wall until they are actually horizontal. I ...