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  • Centripetal force F c is a “center-seeking” force that always points toward the center of rotation. It is perpendicular to linear velocity and has the magnitude
    F c = m a c .
  • Rotating and accelerated frames of reference are noninertial. Inertial forces, such as the Coriolis force, are needed to explain motion in such frames.

Conceptual questions

If you wish to reduce the stress (which is related to centripetal force) on high-speed tires, would you use large- or small-diameter tires? Explain.

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Define centripetal force. Can any type of force (for example, tension, gravitational force, friction, and so on) be a centripetal force? Can any combination of forces be a centripetal force?

Centripetal force is defined as any net force causing uniform circular motion. The centripetal force is not a new kind of force. The label “centripetal” refers to any force that keeps something turning in a circle. That force could be tension, gravity, friction, electrical attraction, the normal force, or any other force. Any combination of these could be the source of centripetal force, for example, the centripetal force at the top of the path of a tetherball swung through a vertical circle is the result of both tension and gravity.

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If centripetal force is directed toward the center, why do you feel that you are ‘thrown’ away from the center as a car goes around a curve? Explain.

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Race car drivers routinely cut corners, as shown below (Path 2). Explain how this allows the curve to be taken at the greatest speed.

Two paths are shown inside a race track through a ninety degree curve. Two cars, a red and a blue one,  and their paths of travel are shown. The blue car is making a tight turn on path one, which is the inside path along the track. The red car is shown overtaking the first car, while taking a wider turn and crossing in front of the blue car into the inside path and then back out of it.

The driver who cuts the corner (on Path 2) has a more gradual curve, with a larger radius. That one will be the better racing line. If the driver goes too fast around a corner using a racing line, he will still slide off the track; the key is to stay at the maximum value of static friction. So, the driver wants maximum possible speed and maximum friction. Consider the equation for centripetal force: F c = m v 2 r where v is speed and r is the radius of curvature. So by decreasing the curvature (1/ r ) of the path that the car takes, we reduce the amount of force the tires have to exert on the road, meaning we can now increase the speed, v . Looking at this from the point of view of the driver on Path 1, we can reason this way: the sharper the turn, the smaller the turning circle; the smaller the turning circle, the larger is the required centripetal force. If this centripetal force is not exerted, the result is a skid.

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Many amusement parks have rides that make vertical loops like the one shown below. For safety, the cars are attached to the rails in such a way that they cannot fall off. If the car goes over the top at just the right speed, gravity alone will supply the centripetal force. What other force acts and what is its direction if:

(a) The car goes over the top at faster than this speed?

(b) The car goes over the top at slower than this speed?

A photo of a roller coaster with a vertical loop. The loop has a tighter curvature at the top than at the bottom, making an inverted teardrop shape.
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What causes water to be removed from clothes in a spin-dryer?

The barrel of the dryer provides a centripetal force on the clothes (including the water droplets) to keep them moving in a circular path. As a water droplet comes to one of the holes in the barrel, it will move in a path tangent to the circle.

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Questions & Answers

a particle projected from origin moving on x-y plane passes through P & Q having consituents (9,7) , (18,4) respectively.find eq. of trajectry.
rahul Reply
definition of inertia
philip Reply
the reluctance of a body to start moving when it is at rest and to stop moving when it is in motion
An inherent property by virtue of which the body remains in its pure state or initial state
why current is not a vector quantity , whereas it have magnitude as well as direction.
Aniket Reply
the flow of current is not current
bcoz it doesn't satisfy the algabric laws of vectors
The Electric current can be defined as the dot product of the current density and the differential cross-sectional area vector : ... So the electric current is a scalar quantity . Scalars are related to tensors by the fact that a scalar is a tensor of order or rank zero .
what is binomial theorem
Tollum Reply
hello are you ready to ask aquestion?
Saadaq Reply
what is binary operations
What is the formula to calculat parallel forces that acts in opposite direction?
Martan Reply
position, velocity and acceleration of vector
Manuel Reply
*a plane flies with a velocity of 1000km/hr in a direction North60degree east.find it effective velocity in the easterly and northerly direction.*
hello Lydia.
What is momentum
A rail way truck of mass 2400kg is hung onto a stationary trunk on a level track and collides with it at 4.7m|s. After collision the two trunk move together with a common speed of 1.2m|s. Calculate the mass of the stationary trunk
Ekuri Reply
I need the solving for this question
is the eye the same like the camera
I can't understand
same here please
I think the question is that ,,, the working principal of eye and camera same or not?
yes i think is same as the camera
what are the dimensions of surface tension
why is the "_" sign used for a wave to the right instead of to the left?
why classical mechanics is necessary for graduate students?
khyam Reply
classical mechanics?
principle of superposition?
Naveen Reply
principle of superposition allows us to find the electric field on a charge by finding the x and y components
Two Masses,m and 2m,approach each along a path at right angles to each other .After collision,they stick together and move off at 2m/s at angle 37° to the original direction of the mass m. What where the initial speeds of the two particles
2m & m initial velocity 1.8m/s & 4.8m/s respectively,apply conservation of linear momentum in two perpendicular directions.
A body on circular orbit makes an angular displacement given by teta(t)=2(t)+5(t)+5.if time t is in seconds calculate the angular velocity at t=2s
2+5+0=7sec differentiate above equation w.r.t time, as angular velocity is rate of change of angular displacement.
Ok i got a question I'm not asking how gravity works. I would like to know why gravity works. like why is gravity the way it is. What is the true nature of gravity?
Daniel Reply
gravity pulls towards a mass...like every object is pulled towards earth
An automobile traveling with an initial velocity of 25m/s is accelerated to 35m/s in 6s,the wheel of the automobile is 80cm in diameter. find * The angular acceleration
Goodness Reply
(10/6) ÷0.4=4.167 per sec
what is the formula for pressure?
Goodness Reply
force is newtom
and area is meter squared
so in SI units pressure is N/m^2
In customary United States units pressure is lb/in^2. pound per square inch
Practice Key Terms 6

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Source:  OpenStax, University physics volume 1. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12031/1.5
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