1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Centrifugal Force Experiment

  1. Aug 30, 2015 #1
    As a result of various searches on the Net, I have ended up here on this fantastic site. Specifically, it was an old 2008 thread in which was closed, so in order for me to expand on such discussion I've decided to make my own thread; by which I will go a slightly different direction with.

    Gravity pulls everything towards the center of the earth, and centrifugal force slightly lessens the effect of gravity's pull. Due to earth's spin, of course.

    Now, at the equator the earth spins 1500 - 1700 mph. I'm not sure what the specific speed is because everyone uses a different number. But that is besides the point.

    Here's my thought experiment for you: If I fly to the equator, and weigh myself at 160 lbs, and then I go to the North Pole, will I weigh more or less than 160 lbs.? If so, by how much?

    The circumference of the earth at the equator is much more than the circumference of the earth close to the North pole, which would mean that the effects of the centrifugal force would be less, therefore I should weigh more right?

    Would this be a reasonable experiment to do, or has it already been done?

    Very much looking forward to your replies and insights! Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2015 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to PF!
    Can't you do the calculation yourself? Those values actually aren't all that close.
    NASA has satellites that map the Earth's gravitational field in exquisite detail, being able to detect the differences caused by mountain ranges, oceans and the varying thickness of the crust. Here's the amount of variation:

    Note that in addition to the centrifugal force, there is also the issue that when on the pole, you are closer to the Earth's center.
  4. Aug 31, 2015 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    It should be noted, that those satellites do not detect the differences due to centrifugal effects.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook