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Homework Help: Acceleration From Earth's Rotation

  1. Oct 30, 2007 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Does a particle at rest on the surface of the earth experience tangential acceleration because of the rotation of the earth? If so, in what direction? If not, explain why not.

    3. The attempt at a solution
    The particle would not have tangential acceleration but rather inward acceleration towards the center of the earth. As the particle is rotating in a circle constantly being pulled towards the center of the earth while it attempts to fly off the earth in a direction perpendicular to the inward acceleration.

    I am wondering if I am missing something here as I don't fully understand tangential acceleration.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 30, 2007 #2
    Tangential acceleration is acceleration along the surface of the Earth (if there is) such that from that point you tend to go in a straight line forming a right angle with the line joining you and the centre of the Earth.The Earth has a constant angular velocity and not acceleration.Yes, the centripetal force(due to gravity) will be inward towards the centre of of the Earth and the Centrifugal force will be outward.

    Can you relate to how this would affect your weight. If you are being pulled down by Earth's gravity and you have a force acting outward(centrifugal) against it , will your weight change?
  4. Oct 30, 2007 #3
    =/ You've confused me more. I've never encountered centrifugal force in my physics class, so I'm not sure how to answer your question. But by your definition of tangential acceleration, there is none when a particle is resting on the earth, only the centripetal acceleration towards the center of the earth and the tangential velocity (?) of the particle at a right angle to the acceleration.
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