any force responsible for maintaining an object on a curved path around a fixed center. In introductory coursework this is usually "uniform circular motion" and yields several simple and useful relations. Not to be confused with the centrifugal pseudo-force experienced in a accelerated referenced ...

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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 ...
48
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, ...
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.
23
votes
4answers
5k views

Why doesn't a spinning object in the air fall?

Let's say I have a ball attached to a string and I'm spinning it above my head. If it's going fast enough, it doesn't fall. I know there's centripetal acceleration that's causing the ball to stay in a ...
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
8answers
21k views

Is gravity a force and if so what is its opposite?

For every force there is an equal force in the opposite direction on another body, correct? So when the Suns gravity acts on Earth where is the opposite and equal force? I also have the same ...
10
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: ...
10
votes
2answers
4k views

Relativistic centripetal force

The thought randomly occurred to me that a circular particle accelerator would have to exert a lot of force in order to maintain the curvature of the trajectory. Many accelerators move particles at ...
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 ...
9
votes
3answers
455 views

Can an orbit be calculated using two points and transit time?

Working in only two dimensions and assuming that the central body is at the origin of the coordinate system, given two points in space and knowing the transit time between those points, as well as the ...
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
4answers
1k views

Will the sea form a concave surface?

Without neglecting the fact that the earth is rotating, let us be in a ship (such that there is no relative motion between sea and ship) in a sea that surrounds the northern most or southern most ...
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 ...
6
votes
6answers
4k views

Turning an Airplane. What actually causes the circular motion in a banked (roll) turn?

Basically I'm wondering if this is correct. Which essentially says that you need a torque to get the nose of the craft to turn and that this is provided by the rear tail surfaces. After trying to ...
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
2answers
518 views

Effect of water on wobble of rotating structure

If we have a structure that rotates to create artificial gravity, then if the mass isn't perfectly distributed along the circumference the CM will be offset from the geometric center so there will be ...
6
votes
0answers
167 views

Is there an equivalent of Rindler coordinates for an object in centripetal motion?

Rindler coordinates are a parametrization of (a subset of) Minkowski space that are "natural" for an object experiencing constant acceleration - more specifically, an object experiencing constant ...
5
votes
3answers
301 views

Is the planet Mesklin as described in Hal Clement's Mission of Gravity correct?

The book Mission of Gravity describes a planet with a mass of 16 times Jupiter spinning at a rate of one revolution every 17.75 minutes. This causes it to stretch out into an oblate spheroid and has ...
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
4answers
479 views

Is any energy required to deflect an asteroid, with force always perpendicular to its trajectory?

Let's assume there is an asteroid traveling on a straight line (far from any gravitational source), and we need to deflect it from its actual trajectory, so we build a rocket motor on the surface and ...
5
votes
3answers
5k views

The force arrow for centripetal force points in the opposite direction of my calculation?

I need someone to clarify a conceptual problem I can't seem to surpass. Image there is a rollercoaster loop and a rollerbcoaster car enters the loop at high speed. Once the car completes the full ...
5
votes
1answer
296 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
2answers
172 views

Intuitive explanation for why centripetal acceleration is $\frac{v^2}{r}$

There are several ways to write centripetal acceleration $$\frac{v^2}{r} = \omega^2 r = v \omega$$ Are there intuitive explanations for any of these three forms? For instance, I can sort of explain ...
4
votes
2answers
7k views

Friction as a Centripetal Force

When an object is moving in a circle, won't the frictional force oppose it's motion? And if the velocity is always tangential to the path, there is no component of it towards the center, so there is ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

Why does friction play the role of centripetal force during the turning of a car?

What makes frictional force the centripetal force of a car turning along a curve? As friction is the opposing force and acts anti-parallel so there is no component of frictional force towards the ...
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
3answers
2k views

Is the Moon freely falling towards the Earth?

The Moon is revolving around the Earth and its centripetal acceleration is towards the Earth. Does it mean that the Moon is freely falling towards Earth? What is the cause of the Moon orbiting around ...
4
votes
0answers
1k views

Friction in circular motion [closed]

A circular horizontal table spins around its axis of rotation with a constant angular speed. It completes one revolution in 2 seconds. An object whose mass is $M = 0.8 \ \text{kg}$ is placed on the ...
3
votes
4answers
848 views

What causes a car's velocity to follow the front wheels' direction?

I'm trying to simulate a car with correct physics models. In this example we let the car have a constant speed, and there are no forces (friction and drag) to slow down the speed. Here's a video that ...
3
votes
3answers
9k views

Proof of centripetal acceleration formula ($a_c = v^2/r$) for non-uniform circular motion

The formula for centripetal (radial) acceleration is well known, and there exist many proofs for it: $$||a_c|| = \frac{||v||^2}{r}$$ However, all the proofs I've seen rely on the fact that it is ...
3
votes
3answers
495 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
1answer
919 views

When does centripetal force cause constant circular motion?

As far as I know, if an object has a speed $s$ and a force is applied to it which generates an acceleration of $s^2/r$, then the object will start moving in a circle of radius $r$. Also, as far as I ...
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
4answers
12k views

Planet orbits: what's the difference between gravity and centripetal force?

My physics teacher says that centripetal force is caused by gravity. I'm not entirely sure how this works? How can force cause another in space (ie where there's nothing). My astronomy teacher says ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Physical Variables of Circular Motion

To me, the definitions of variables involved in circular motion are rather confusing (perhaps due to the lack of understanding on my part), hence the question. As I understand it, there are two ...
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
1answer
438 views

Why friction is not reliable for circular turns on horizontal road with high speed and sharp curve?

Why is friction not reliable for circular turn on horizontal road for centripetal force when high speed and sharp curve are involved? So banking of road has to be present to introduce a new force $N ...
3
votes
1answer
579 views

How to explain centripetal force in terms or relativity

At the end of a video of dropping a ball and feathers in a vacuum, Brian Cox explains that the Ball and Feathers, as understood in terms of General Relativity, aren't falling. (apologies I can only ...
3
votes
4answers
7k views

Work in circular motions

Suppose that a satellite circles around a planet that exerts $2000N$ of gravitational force on the satellite. I understand the fact that since the circular motion and the centripetal force are ...
3
votes
2answers
378 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
5answers
1k views

why does what get pushed away when centripetal acceleration is towards the center

If centripetal acceleration is towards the center, then why - when you spin a bucket of water (a classic demonstration) - does the water not get pushed out but rather stays in the bucket without ...
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
1answer
88 views

Is it possible to tell which way a Universe is spinning?

Imagine a Universe spinning on the x-axis. So there is a centripetal directed away from the x-axis. According to General Relativity this is entirely equivalent to a non-spinning Universe with a ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Car on a frictionless banked curve

A car is on a banked curve, following a path which is part of a circle with radius $R$. The curve is banked at angle $\theta$ with the horizontal, and is a frictionless surface. What is the speed ...
3
votes
3answers
15k views

Rotating a stone with a string

Suppose we are given a stick and a stone tied to the stick by a string. Now if we rotate the stone around the stick the stone rises in height (see picture below). My question is which force accounts ...
2
votes
6answers
846 views

Centripetal Force Acceleration

In uniform circular motion, acceleration is $\frac{v^2}{r}$ and time which it acts $\rightarrow 0$. So $\Delta v = 0$, but then why/how does direction change, when the acceleration should be ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

Why did they add a Centripetal Force in the Free-Body Diagram?

problem ! solution ! Why do they have the centripetal force in there? I understand that the normal force is the centripetal force here, but why would they say "or $\frac{mv^2}{r}$"? I thought it ...
2
votes
2answers
53 views

Why is the centripetal force vector on a banked turn horizontal rather than parallel to the incline?

Why isn't the centripetal force parallel to the inclined surface? It seems like if you were to draw a circle with one point being at the center of the curve and one point at the car the circle would ...
2
votes
3answers
135 views

Is centripetal acceleration mandatory for circular motion?

If we consider a case where a closed circular wall is present, and inside the boundary, just adjacent to the inner wall, two particles are placed touching the surface of inner boundary such that the ...