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  • Discuss the inertial frame of reference.
  • Discuss the non-inertial frame of reference.
  • Describe the effects of the Coriolis force.

What do taking off in a jet airplane, turning a corner in a car, riding a merry-go-round, and the circular motion of a tropical cyclone have in common? Each exhibits fictitious forces—unreal forces that arise from motion and may seem real, because the observer’s frame of reference is accelerating or rotating.

When taking off in a jet, most people would agree it feels as if you are being pushed back into the seat as the airplane accelerates down the runway. Yet a physicist would say that you tend to remain stationary while the seat pushes forward on you, and there is no real force backward on you. An even more common experience occurs when you make a tight curve in your car—say, to the right. You feel as if you are thrown (that is, forced ) toward the left relative to the car. Again, a physicist would say that you are going in a straight line but the car moves to the right, and there is no real force on you to the left. Recall Newton’s first law.

In figure a, there is a girl driving a car turning toward right. A fictitious force vector is acting on her body toward left. In figure b, the actual force vector acting on the girl’s body is shown toward right.
(a) The car driver feels herself forced to the left relative to the car when she makes a right turn. This is a fictitious force arising from the use of the car as a frame of reference. (b) In the Earth’s frame of reference, the driver moves in a straight line, obeying Newton’s first law, and the car moves to the right. There is no real force to the left on the driver relative to Earth. There is a real force to the right on the car to make it turn.

We can reconcile these points of view by examining the frames of reference used. Let us concentrate on people in a car. Passengers instinctively use the car as a frame of reference, while a physicist uses Earth. The physicist chooses Earth because it is very nearly an inertial frame of reference—one in which all forces are real (that is, in which all forces have an identifiable physical origin). In such a frame of reference, Newton’s laws of motion take the form given in Dynamics: Newton's Laws of Motion The car is a non-inertial frame of reference    because it is accelerated to the side. The force to the left sensed by car passengers is a fictitious force    having no physical origin. There is nothing real pushing them left—the car, as well as the driver, is actually accelerating to the right.

Let us now take a mental ride on a merry-go-round—specifically, a rapidly rotating playground merry-go-round. You take the merry-go-round to be your frame of reference because you rotate together. In that non-inertial frame, you feel a fictitious force, named centrifugal force     ( not to be confused with centripetal force ) , trying to throw you off. You must hang on tightly to counteract the centrifugal force. In Earth’s frame of reference, there is no force trying to throw you off. Rather you must hang on to make yourself go in a circle because otherwise you would go in a straight line, right off the merry-go-round.

In figure a, looking down on the counterclockwise rotation of a merry-go-round, we see a child sitting on a horse rotating in counterclockwise direction with angular velocity omega. The fictious force is equal to the centrifugal force at the point of contact between the pole carrying horse and the merry-go-round surface, which is from the center of the round base toward outside. This is the merry-go-round’s rotating frame of reference. In figure b, the merry-go-round’s inertial frame of reference is given, where two horses carrying children are seen rotating with angular velocity omega in the counterclockwise direction. The net force of first horse is equal to the centripetal force, shown here with an arrow from the first horse toward the center of the circular base. A shadow of the second horse is shown going past the right side of the first horse in straight direction, whose net force is equal to zero. A dotted line from second as well as first horse are shown meeting at the center point making an angle.
(a) A rider on a merry-go-round feels as if he is being thrown off. This fictitious force is called the centrifugal force—it explains the rider’s motion in the rotating frame of reference. (b) In an inertial frame of reference and according to Newton’s laws, it is his inertia that carries him off and not a real force (the unshaded rider has F net = 0 size 12{F rSub { size 8{"net"} } =0} {} and heads in a straight line). A real force, F centripetal size 12{F rSub { size 8{"centripetal"} } } {} , is needed to cause a circular path.

Questions & Answers

derivative of first differential equation
Haruna Reply
why static friction is greater than Kinetic friction
Ali Reply
draw magnetic field pattern for two wire carrying current in the same direction
Ven Reply
An American traveler in New Zealand carries a transformer to convert New Zealand’s standard 240 V to 120 V so that she can use some small appliances on her trip.
nkombo Reply
What is the ratio of turns in the primary and secondary coils of her transformer?
How electric lines and equipotential surface are mutually perpendicular?
Abid Reply
The potential difference between any two points on the surface is zero that implies È.Ŕ=0, Where R is the distance between two different points &E= Electric field intensity. From which we have cos þ =0, where þ is the angle between the directions of field and distance line, as E andR are zero. Thus
sorry..E and R are non zero...
By how much leeway (both percentage and mass) would you have in the selection of the mass of the object in the previous problem if you did not wish the new period to be greater than 2.01 s or less than 1.99 s?
Elene Reply
what Is linear momentum
Victoria Reply
why no diagrams
Blessing Reply
Describe an experiment to determine short half life
Tyson Reply
what is science
Kenedy Reply
it's a natural phenomena
please can someone help me with explanations of wave
there are seven basic type of wave radio waves, gyamma rays (nuclear energy), microwave,etc you can also search 🔍 on Google :-)
A 20MH coil has a resistance of 50 ohms and us connected in series with a capacitor to a 520MV supply
Musa Reply
what is physics
Caya Reply
it is the science which we used in our daily life
Physics is the branch of science that deals with the study of matter and the interactions it undergoes with energy
it is branch of science which deals with study of happening in the human life
A 20MH coil has a resistance of 50 ohms and is connected in series with a capacitor to a 250MV supply if the circuit is to resonate at 100KHZ, Determine 1: the capacitance of the capacitor 2: the working voltage of the circuit, given that pie =3.142
Physics is the branch of science that deals with the study of matter and the interactions it undergoes with energy
Heat is transfered by thermal contact but if it is transfered by conduction or radiation, is it possible to reach in thermal equilibrium?
Eden Reply
Yes, It is possible by conduction if Surface is Adiabatic
Yeah true ilwith d help of Adiabatic
what are the fundamentals qualities
Magret Reply
what is physic3
what is physic
Physics? Is a branch of science dealing with matter in relation to energy.
Physic... Is a purging medicine, which stimulates evacuation of the bowels.
are you asking for qualities or quantities?
fundamental quantities are, length , mass, time, current, luminous intensity, amount of substance, thermodynamic temperature.
fundamental quantities are quantities that are independent of others and cannot be define in terms of other quantities there is nothing like Qualities we have only fundamental quantities which includes; length,mass,time, electric current, luminous density, temperature, amount of substance etc
give examples of three dimensional frame of reference
Ekwunazor Reply
Yes the Universe itself
Practice Key Terms 4

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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