Explain the shift in apparent weight at the top and bottom of a ferris wheel.
The Attempt at a Solution
I am just not able to grasp centripetal acceleration. I understand at the top point, gravity AND centripetal acceleration are downwards, so then why in the equation for Normal force N=m(g - v^2/r) imply that these forces are acting in opposite directions? And if they both point downwards, I would assume normal force would also be greater at the top point than at the bottom point. Can someone explain this?
Also, in my textbook, it says that if the ride goes fast enough such that g=v^2/r, then N=0 and the passenger is about to be airborne. Why would this happen if you eliminate the upward force and have only the downward forces? Is this not counter intuitive?