The centripetal force is not like a special kind of interaction, it refers only to an object rotating along a curved path and is required to place the object on that path.
Therefore, it is often called the centripetal necessary force.
Very often beginners see centripetal force as some kind of fundamental new type of interaction.
And this makes sense because the forces like the force of gravity and the force of friction have a well-defined source, which does not depend on the trajectory of movement.
But this is not the case for Centripetal Force and the need to place an object on a curved path results in centripetal force.
The sum of all the forces acting on the moving object on a curved path must be equal to the centripetal force.
If an object is moving in a straight path and then needs to change the direction of movement, it will need to exert a force equal to the centripetal force.
This centripetal force can be calculated by the following formula:
Many stars and planets rotate in circular orbits and require a force corresponding to the centripetal force to hold their circular motion and that force is usually gravity.
When fit into turns, slope and radius are taken into account
If you've had to drive a car or a bike, or even go jogging, you've probably noticed that it is easier to blend in on tight turns if the road surface slopes slightly inward.
Experience has shown that the greater the incline or slope, the easier it is to fit into the turn.
This is because in this case, a less centripetal force is acting on you.
The centripetal force is provided by the frictional force against the surface of the road.
If the road surface is covered with ice, the frictional force is reduced, and therefore it is often impossible to adapt to a turn on an icy road at high speed.
Value of the centripetal force
The centripetal force is the reason for the changes in direction of the moving objects in their movement and it can be from contacts. These contacts can be the following:
1. The wire rope in a hammer throw
2. The friction between the wheels of a car that takes a curve and the asphalt
3. From a distance, like the gravitational attraction of the Earth on a satellite or on an airplane that looping
Changing direction with centripetal acceleration
We can specify for the case of uniform circular motion, in which, although its speed is constant, its velocity vector continually changes direction thanks to the normal acceleration.
When moving around a circle, the linear speed of an object constantly changes direction and such acceleration is called centripetal acceleration.
At any point of rotational motion with a constant value and changing direction, the linear velocity vector is perpendicular to the radius.
Keep in mind that the linear velocity vector of an object that performs uniform rotational movements is always directed at right angles to the radius at the current point of the path.
A characteristic of uniform rotational motion is the consistency of the linear velocity.
This means that the acceleration vector does not have a component parallel to the linear velocity vector, since otherwise, the linear velocity would change.
However, with uniform rotary motion, only the direction of the linear speed changes.
This shift in linear velocity is supported by centripetal acceleration directed towards the center of the circle of rotation and perpendicular to the vector of linear velocity.
Now, we know the direction of centripetal acceleration, so let’s find out its magnitude.
The magnitude of the centripetal acceleration of the object is uniformly moving with a linear velocity along a circle with radius can be calculated by the following formula:
As you can see from the formula that centripetal acceleration is directly proportional to the square of the velocity and inversely proportional to the radius.
So it is not surprising that the object experiences stronger centripetal acceleration in tighter bends.
How to calculate the Centripetal Force easily
As we have seen in the formula, we only need mass, velocity, and radius of the rotational motion to calculate the centripetal force.
If you have those three measures, you can calculate the centripetal force using the online centripetal force formula.
This online tool is very efficient and easy to use. You can not only calculate the centripetal force but also the other metrics as well.
The amazing thing is that this tool is free so students and teachers don’t have to pay a penny to solve the problems related to centripetal force.
When a body describes a curvilinear path, the velocity vector must change direction and direction. The centripetal acceleration is responsible for it.
You can calculate it easily either by yourself on paper, or you can try the online centripetal force calculator to solve problems and numerics.