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!

Physics turns and centripetal force on flat roads

  1. Sep 16, 2013 #1
    I am confused about this. I learned that the frictional force is pointing towards the center of the circle in circular motion (on a flat road) due to the tires.

    The thing is, I don't understand what the result of this friction is.

    The road is flat, and the motion of the car is straight. Therefore, the only friction that I can think of would be one opposite to the cars motion. What is causing the friction which has a direction pointing to the center of the circular path the car is traveling in?

    Can someone break it down for me? I just can't seem to think about what could be causing this frictional force which is pushing the car to the center of the circle.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 16, 2013 #2
    If you don't have a force pointing toward the center of the circle what is keeping the car from flying off the side of the road? Its the same as a string on a rubber stopper spinning, if not for the string the stopper would not go in a circle.
  4. Sep 16, 2013 #3
    If there is a tendency for the car to slip outwards, then there will be a frictional force towards the centre of the circle.
  5. Sep 16, 2013 #4
    Also think about taking a hard turn in your car, which way does all the stuff in your floor board/back seat roll?
  6. Sep 16, 2013 #5
    Under normal conditions, a car goes in a circle only when its front wheels are turned toward the center of the circle. Because they are turned, they are somewhat sideways to the direction of its instantaneous velocity. Friction opposes their sideways motion, and causes the car to go round.
  7. Sep 16, 2013 #6
    It would hit the sides because it still wants to continue its straight motion, there is no force causing the objects to accelerate to the center of the circle.

    I understand that there is a force, but I am just confused as to what the force is a result of.

    I am unsure of exactly what is causing this frictional force. I know it has something to do with the road and the tires, but I just can't exactly pin point it.

    Thank you. That is exactly what I was looking for.

    Also, thank you for everyone else too. I appreciate your time
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook