# Ferris Wheel Normal forces

1. Mar 18, 2009

### Dannystu

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
A Ferris wheel rider moves in a vertical circle of radius r at constant speed v. Therefore, he experiences a centripetal acceleration a.

2. Relevant equations
Is the normal force that the seat exerts on the rider at the top of the circle less than, more than, or the same as the normal force the the bottom of the ride?

Is the normal force equal to the weight?

Explain your answers using Newton's 2nd Law with centripetal acceleration.

Thank you!!

Last edited: Mar 18, 2009
2. Mar 18, 2009

### danago

What are your thoughts on the question? Try drawing a free body diagram of the rider at both the top and bottom of the circle.

3. Mar 19, 2009

### Dannystu

I drew my free body diagram- when the rider is on top, I have the normal force pointing up and weight and acceleration pointing down towards the center of the wheel.

When the rider is at the bottom, the normal force and acceleration are pointing up and the weight is pointing down.

For top-
F=m*a
-Fn+mg=m*a

For bottom-
F=m*a
Fn-mg=m*a

Is this right so far?

Last edited: Mar 19, 2009
4. Mar 19, 2009

### PhanthomJay

yes.

5. Mar 20, 2009

### Dannystu

So the normal force is greater at the bottom? Correct? Thanks!

6. Mar 20, 2009

Correct.