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Wanting clarification on Centrifugal force

  1. Oct 18, 2015 #1
    I was wondering if someone could help dissect my understanding of Centrifugal force and explain any errors in my logic. So imagining that I am driving a car and making a right turn. I make the right turn and am forced into the side of the door. I feel a force acting on me but after I make my turn and adjust my position I no longer feel it. I am wondering if during that turn that feeling I have of being pushed is a centrifugal force. My body wants to continue straight due to Inertia but I make the turn and my body fights against it. I guess my main question is, is the Centripetal Force less than the Centrifugal Force or once I am touching the door they become equal. I am not sure if I am making sense. But the Centrifugal force is causing me to move away from the center of the circle and do I not have a Centripetal Force acting on me until I reach the door or do I always have it when moving in a circle. I am wondering if someone could lay it out and remove the incorrect thoughts I have.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 18, 2015 #2
    The force that causes you to deviate from a straight line (in a circle) is the centripetal force as in F = M a.
    The force that you exert on the door is the centrifugal force which is a reaction force and not
    to be considered in the solution.
    Remember also, Newton's first law.
  4. Oct 18, 2015 #3
    The car tires on the road have a enough static friction to act as centripetal force which forces the car to make the turn. Any loose objects in the car that do not have enough friction to act as a centripetal force will continue to move in a straight line (due to the absence of a centripetal force) and from the driver's point of view will seem to slide to the side of the car (or outside of the car if the window is open). The same is happening to the driver, except that you will have the seat-belt to stop you from sliding to the side of the car. Careful when saying Centrifugal force, Centrifugal force isn't an actual physical force, it is used to describe the lack of a Centripetal force.
  5. Oct 19, 2015 #4


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    It's better to think of the door being forced into you. Your body tries to go straight on but the car is turning due to the centripetal force which acts towards the centre of the turn.
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