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Homework Help: Simple question on centripetal force

  1. Nov 5, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    How do I find the direction of the centripetal force and acceleration?


    2. Relevant equations
    mv^2/r - centripetal force
    v^2/r - centripetal acceleration

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Would it be inward or outward the radius?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 5, 2009 #2
    Think of this: If you wanted to keep a ball rolling in a circular path, which way would you push it (once it has started moving)? Towards the center or away from it?
     
  4. Nov 5, 2009 #3
    So that would be the same for both acceleration and force?
     
  5. Nov 5, 2009 #4
    Yes, because F=ma, where F and a are vectors and m is a (positive) scalar.
     
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