Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Centripetal Motion and Masses at the Fair

  1. Oct 16, 2006 #1
    Hi, I was told about Centripetal Motion and learned some about rides at the fairs. There is one ride with chairs hanging by a chain in a circle that simply rotates at a certain speed without turning at any angle. Does anyone understand why all of the chairs move up at the same angle even though each person will have a different mass, and even the empty chairs move the same. How can all of the masses cancel? Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 16, 2006 #2

    Doc Al

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    It turns out that the angle a chair rises depends on the ratio of the centripetal force (which is proportional to mass) to the weight (which is also proportional to mass). So the mass does cancel. As long as the chains are the same length, the seats will rise to the same angle for a given angular speed regardless of the mass of the person.
     
  4. Oct 16, 2006 #3
    Thank you very much!
     
  5. Oct 22, 2006 #4
    What procedure do you exactly follow to determine the height each chair is going to rise?
     
  6. Oct 22, 2006 #5

    Doc Al

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Apply Newton's 2nd law. The chairs are centripetally accelerated, so there is a net force in the horizontal direction. Realizing that the tension in the chain acts along its length allows you to calculate the angle the chain makes with the vertical.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Centripetal Motion and Masses at the Fair
  1. Centripetal Motion (Replies: 7)

Loading...