What is Centripedal acceleration: Definition and 21 Discussions

A centripetal force (from Latin centrum, "center" and petere, "to seek") is a force that makes a body follow a curved path. Its direction is always orthogonal to the motion of the body and towards the fixed point of the instantaneous center of curvature of the path. Isaac Newton described it as "a force by which bodies are drawn or impelled, or in any way tend, towards a point as to a centre". In Newtonian mechanics, gravity provides the centripetal force causing astronomical orbits.
One common example involving centripetal force is the case in which a body moves with uniform speed along a circular path. The centripetal force is directed at right angles to the motion and also along the radius towards the centre of the circular path. The mathematical description was derived in 1659 by the Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens.

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  1. mncyapntsi

    Centripetal acceleration along a latitude of Earth

    Hello, I am attempting to correctly solve this problem, however I end up with an equation that is slightly different as the one provided in the textbook solution. For question (a) I get the same thing, just instead of cos, I have cos^2 and I can't figure out where I went wrong. My process was...
  2. Like Tony Stark

    Tension and reaction force in circular motion

    Hi I'm having trouble to understand the centripetal force in a rotating rod with a mass in its end. When ##90°<\theta<270°##, the centripetal acceleration is produced by the tension, which counteracts the radial component of the weight. But what happens when ##\theta<90°## or ##\theta>270°##...
  3. M

    Calculate the tension in a rope attached to a ball in circular motion

    The solution to the problem simply states: "Use of mv^2/r = 2000. T = (2000 + 7500) = 9500N". I don't understand this solution. Nothing more is provided. I don't know how you are supposed to find the radius (in order to use the centripetal force formula) merely from the information provided...
  4. P

    Question regarding centripetal force

    Hi just have a basic question. Just went to the local fair yesterday and road the Gravitron ride. The ride that sucks you to the walls. I became curious on the physics that cause you to get stuck to the wall so I have been researching centripetal force. Now it seems that the seats are...
  5. A

    About centripetal acceleration

    I've been thinking about centripetal force and its effects on motion in uniform circular motion. I've actually found it difficult to accept that velocity magnitude can ever be maintained constant. Here is why: if this is our velocity vector, v, at the top of the circle: → Then the centripetal...
  6. PhysicsCollegeGirl

    Amusement Rotor Ride Explanation

    1. Homework Statement An amusement park ride consists of a large vertical cylinder that spins about its axis fast enough that any person inside is held up against the wall when the floor drops away (see figure). The coefficient of static friction between person and wall is μs, and the radius of...
  7. T

    Finding centripedal acceleration with tangential acceleration

    Homework Statement I'm trying to find the centripedal acceleration of a roller coaster at a certain point in time from experimental data of acceleration in the X, Y, and Z directions. I do not know the velocity of the roller coaster, only the acceleration. Thank you! Homework Equations v^2/r...
  8. H

    Will speed increase under these conditions?

    A mass is tied to a rope, that rope is attatched to a pole coming out of the screen. The pole is being moved by a person to cause the mass to rotate in a verticle circle at constant speed. A second pole coming out of the screen is introduced within the radius. The second pole interacts with the...
  9. M

    Find the final velocity of the block

    Homework Statement So here is the problem, There is a .03kg block that is in an inverted cone, the cone has a slant length of 15 cm and a radius of 4 cm, and the coefficient of friction is .35. The block rotates around the inside of the cone, seamlessly, until it hits the bottom of the cone...
  10. Quadrat

    Circular motion, tension and angular speed

    Homework Statement A ball with the mass m is attached to a rod, suspended by two strings both with lengths L. The rod is rotating with the angular velocity ω and the ball rotates with it in such a way that the strings are taut and the ball moves in a circular pattern. I tried to draw it on my...
  11. D

    Work in Uniform Circular Motion

    Uniform circular motion requires a force perpendicular to the velocity. Therefore, the work done by such a force is zero because the dot product of the force and the path is zero. So there is no energy gain beyond the kinetic energy arising from its constant speed. But if I have a mass (rocket...
  12. S

    Separating out centripetal and gravitational acceleration

    Has anyone got any experience of this using a dual axis sensor on a pendulum? I have attempting to do itt however I am not completely satisfied that my method is successful
  13. S

    Calculating Acceleration in a Pendulum Swing: Exploring Centripedal Forces

    I am curious, when you are swinging your arms back and forth whilst holding a glass of water as you would with a pendulum would it experience centripedal acceleration? I would assume that it would?
  14. M

    Can I Accurately Measure Bike Wheel Radius with a Rotating Sensor?

    I have attached a sensor measuring acceleration to a bicycle wheel. I was hoping to be able to trace out the circle with accurate measurements for the radius of the bike wheel by integrating my data however I have realized that my sensor is of course undergoing centripetal acceleration however...
  15. A

    Centripedal acceleration of an electron

    Homework Statement Multiple-Concept Example 3 provides some pertinent background for this problem. Suppose a single electron orbits about a nucleus containing two protons (2e), as would be the case for a helium atom from which one of the two naturally occurring electrons is removed. The radius...
  16. L

    Centripedal acceleration and force question

    Homework Statement i can't fully understand this concept. is this correct? standing on the Earth's surface i have two forces acting on me. the force due to the fact that i have mass, and so does the earth. given by equation f = (Gm1m2)/r (this force would be acting if the Earth was not...
  17. R

    Kinematics question centripedal acceleration and projectile motion

    Homework Statement A stone is swirled in a horizontal circle 1.00m above the ground by means of a string 2.00m long. The string breaks, and the stone files off horizontally and strikes the ground 15.0m away. What was the centripetal acceleration of the stone before the string breaks...
  18. D

    Magnitude of centripedal acceleration

    Homework Statement car speed from 40m/s to 84m/s traveling counterclockwise around a track 6.6x10^2m when it reaches 68m/s find: magnitude of centripedal acceleration angular speed tangential acceleration magnitude of total acceleration Homework Equations ac=v^2/r w=v/r at=...
  19. C

    Work and Energy with centripedal acceleration and springs.

    Homework Statement The two problems below are related to a cart of mass M = 500 kg going around a circular loop-the-loop of radius R = 15 m, as shown in the figures. All surfaces are frictionless. In order for the cart to negotiate the loop safely, the normal force exerted by the track on...
  20. O

    Why Is My Calculated Centripetal Acceleration So High?

    Homework Statement I am currently working a project that involves a car going around a circle. Right now, i am just simplifying it down to just the car and the circle (not including anything about the friction between the tires, or any other forces.) So it should be fairly straightfoward...
  21. D

    Centripedal acceleration question

    Q. A BMX rider is about to ride over a large bump of radius R. What is the maximum speed the rider can travel without leaving the ground? Choice A. g/R B. gR C. (gR)^0.5 D. It depends on the mass of the rider The answer provided is C, but howcome g, gravity, is the centripedal...