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Homework Help: Artificial gravity in a washing machine

  1. Oct 3, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    If a washing machine's drum has a radius of 26 cm and spins at 4 rev/s, what is the strength of the artificial gravity to which the clothes are subjected? Express your answer as a multiple of g.

    2. Relevant equations

    w = distance/time
    w= (angular velocity)

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I basically changed the units. (cm to m) and ( rev/sec to rad/sec) and tried to solve for w and dividing by 9.8. However this is not the answer. I am not sure im even on the right track to solve the question. please help
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 3, 2009 #2
    You want to find the acceleration of the clothes.

    Centripetal acceleration is defined as


    So the velocity in metres/second divided by the radius.

    You get the centripetal acceleration, and that should do it. What it's really asking for is centrifugal acceleration, but in reality there's no such thing. Centrifugal acceleration is an artificial force that only exists in accelerating reference frames.
  4. Oct 3, 2009 #3
    So i did v2/r and I divided that number by 9.8 since it asks for a multiple of G. I did not get the answer. I also do not understand why you say it should be centripedal and not centrifugal
  5. Oct 3, 2009 #4
    Well for your purposes you should use centrifugal. I'm just saying that in reality there's no such thing.

    Also, that's odd. Are you sure you used metres per second?
  6. Oct 3, 2009 #5
    the definition for acp=r w2
    so i got .026m * (25.132rad/sec)2 = 16.422
    then i divided that number by 9.8...it didn't work :(
    any ideas??
  7. Aug 22, 2010 #6
    So, you are getting the gravity of a washing machine? I don't think there is an specific gravity of a washing machine. But maybe with the help of formula, you can get it's gravity.
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