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Water in a bucket

If you don't mind taking a chance on getting wet, fill a small bucket about half full of water. Then swing the bucket rapidly in a circle in a vertical plane.

If you can swing the bucket fast enough, the water will stay in the bucket even when the bucket is upside down. Why is that? The water molecules want tomove in a straight line. However, the inside surface of the bucket exerts a centripetal force on the water molecules causing them to accelerate toward thecenter of the circle. The centripetal force increases with the speed of the bucket. As long as the centripetal force is greater than the weight of thewater, the water won't fall out of the bucket onto your head. However, if you allow the speed of the bucket to decrease, you will reach the point wheregravity will overcome, and you will probably get wet.

The moon and the Earth

Don't ask me how it got started in the first place, but somehow the moon got started circling the Earth.

The speed of the moon and the radius of its orbit is just exactly right so that the gravitational force that the Earth exerts on the moon causes the moonto accelerate towards the Earth. The amount of acceleration toward the earth, when combined with the speed of the moon, causes the moon to move in a uniformcircular orbit around the Earth instead of either flying off into space or crashing into the Earth.

The work-energy explanation

It is probably time to start explaining this phenomena in a more technical and less anecdotal manner.

The application of a centripetal force for uniform circular motion causes the direction of the object to be changed without changing its speed. Let's see if we can explain this froma work-energy viewpoint.


Recall from an earlier module that work is a force acting upon an object to cause a displacement . Also recall that the amount of work done on an object, expressed in Joules, is given by

Work = F * D * cosine(theta)


  • F represents the force that causes the displacement expressed in Newtons.
  • D represents the amount of the displacement expressed in meters.
  • theta is the angle between the direction of the displacement and the line of action of the force.

Centripetal force points toward center of circle

As we showed (or claimed to show) earlier, the centripetal force for an object in uniform circular motion always points in the direction of the center of the circle. At the sametime, the velocity vector, which represents the direction of the displacement is tangential to the circle. Therefore, the angle between the centripetal force andthe direction of displacement is 90 degrees. This means that the centripetal force does no work on the object, because the cosine of 90 degrees is zero.

No work is done

When no work is done upon an object by external forces, the total mechanical energy, consisting of potential energy plus kinetic energy, of the objectremains constant. If an object is moving in a circle in a plane that is parallel to the surface of the Earth, the effect of gravity may pull the entire planetoward the surface of the Earth, but it won't effect the circular motion unequally with respect to the position of the object in the circle.

Questions & Answers

what is the meaning of function in economics
Effah Reply
Pls, I need more explanation on price Elasticity of Supply
Isaac Reply
Is the degree to the degree of responsiveness of a change in quantity supplied of goods to a change in price
Discuss the short-term and long-term balance positions of the firm in the monopoly market?
Rabindranath Reply
how are you?
can you tell how can i economics honurs(BSC) in reputed college?
through hard study and performing well than expected from you
what should i prepare for it?
prepare first, in psychologically as well as potentially to sacrifice what's expected from you, when I say this I mean that you have to be ready, for every thing and to accept failure as a good and you need to change them to potential for achievement of ur goals
parna kya hai behencho?
Hello, dear what's up?
good morning
pls, is anyone here from Ghana?
Hw s every one please
Ys please I'm in Ghana
what is firms
Anteyi Reply
A firm is a business entity which engages in the production of goods and aimed at making profit.
What is autarky in Economics.
what is choice
Tia Reply
So how is the perfect competition different from others
Rev Reply
what is choice
please what type of commodity is 1.Beaf 2.Suagr 3.Bread
Alfred Reply
what is the difference between short run and long run?
Ukpen Reply
It just depends on how far you would like to run!!!🤣🤣🤣
meaning? You guys need not to be playing here; if you don't know a question, leave it for he that knows.
pls is question from which subject or which course
Is this not economics?
This place is meant to be for serious educational matters n not playing ground so pls let's make it a serious place.
Is there an economics expert here?
Okay and I was being serous
The short run is a period of time in which the quantity of at least one inputs is fixed...
that is the answer that I found online and in my text book
Meaning of economics
Suraj Reply
It will creates rooms for an effective demands.
Chinedum Reply
different between production and supply
What is the economic?
Economics is a science which study human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which has an alternative use.
what is supply
what is different between demand and supply
Debless Reply
Demand refers to the quantity of products that consumers are willing to purchase at various prices per time while Supply has to do with the quantity of products suppliers are willing to supply at various prices per time. find the difference in between
Please what are the effects of rationing Effect of black market Effects of hoarding
Atty Reply
monoply is amarket structure charecrized by asingle seller and produce a unique product in the market
Cali Reply
I want to know wen does the demand curve shift to the right
demand curve shifts to the right when there's an increase in price of a substitute or increase in income
ask me anything in economics, I promise to try and do justice to the question, you can send me an email or message, I will answer
what are the factor that change the curve right
explain the law of supply in simple .....
the Law of supply: states that all factor being equal, when the price of a particular goods increase the supply will also increase, as it decreases the supply will also decrease
@Nana the factor that changes or shift the d demand curve to the right is 1) the increase in price of a substitute good or commodity 2) increase in income
you can send your questions I am Comr. Kin chukwuebuka
different between bill of exchange n treasure bill
so would you tell me what means an apportunity cost plz?
what is true cost
your question isn't correct naadi
define an apportunity cost?
orukpe ,is my question whats wrong or u dont know anything?
In a simple term, it is an Alternative foregone.
opportunity cost is the next best value of a scale of preference
Both of you are not correct.
opportunity cost: is a forgone alternative
Monopoly is where is one producer produces a given product with no close substitute
what is income effect?
Qwecou Reply
if you borrow $5000 to buy a car at 12 percent compounded monthly to be repaid over the next 4 year what is monthly payment
Nitish Reply
Researchers demonstrated that the hippocampus functions in memory processing by creating lesions in the hippocampi of rats, which resulted in ________.
Mapo Reply
The formulation of new memories is sometimes called ________, and the process of bringing up old memories is called ________.
Mapo Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Accessible physics concepts for blind students. OpenStax CNX. Oct 02, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11294/1.36
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