# Centripetal and Centrifugal Force

Defining Centripetal Force

Centripetal force is the component of force acting on an object in curvilinear motion which is directed toward the axis of rotation or centre of curvature.

The unit of centripetal force is Newton.

The centripetal force is always directed perpendicular to the direction of the displacement of the object. If an object accelerates according to the changes of velocity, then it can change either its speed or direction of motion. In simple terms, if any moving object in a circular path is constantly changing its direction means it is constantly accelerating. Using Newton’s second law of motion, if an object is travelling in a circular path, it is found that the centripetal force of an object moving in a circular path always acts towards the centre of the circle.

Calculating Centripetal Force

The Centripetal Force Formula is given as the product of mass (in kg) and tangential velocity (in meters per second) squared, divided by the radius (in meters). Which implies that on doubling the tangential velocity, the centripetal force will be quadrupled. Mathematically it is written as:

Where,

• F is the Centripetal force.
• ac is the Centripetal acceleration.
• m is the mass of the object.
• v is the speed or velocity of the object.

Centripetal Force Examples in Daily Life

The force that pulls or pushes an object toward the centre of a circle as it travels, causing angular or circular motion is called a Centripetal Force. Some examples of Centripetal Force are given below.

• Spinning a ball on a string or twirling a lasso: Here the centripetal force is provided by the force of tension on the rope pulls the object in toward the centre.
• Turning a car: Here the centripetal force is provided by the frictional force between the ground and the wheels.
• Going through a loop on a roller coaster: The force is provided by the Normal Force as the seat or wall pushes you toward the centre.
• Planets orbiting around the Sun: Centripetal Force is provided by Gravity.

What is Centrifugal Force?

If an object moving in a circle and experiences an outward force than this force is called the centrifugal force. However, the force also depends on the mass of the object, the distance from the centre of the circle and also the speed of rotation. If the object has more mass, the force of the movement and the speed of the object will be greater. If the distance is far from the centre of the circle the force of the movement will be more.

Centrifugal force is a force that arises from the body’s inertia and appears to act on a body that is moving in a circular path which is directed away from the centre around which the body is moving.

Centrifugal force unit is Newton. The centrifugal force drives the object away from the centre. It is a fictitious force.

How is Centrifugal Force calculated?

Centrifugal force formula is given as the negative product of mass (in kg) and tangential velocity (in meters per second) squared, divided by the radius (in meters). Which implies that on doubling the tangential velocity, the centripetal force will be quadrupled. Mathematically it is written as:

Where,

• Fc is the Centrifugal force
• m is the mass of the object
• is the velocity or speed of the object.

Centrifugal Force Examples in Daily Life

Centrifugal Force acts on every object moving in a circular path when viewed from a rotating frame of reference. Some examples of Centrifugal Force are given below.

• Weight of an object at the poles and on the equator
• A bike making a turn.
• Vehicle driving around a curve
• Equatorial railway