# 6.3 Centripetal force

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• Calculate coefficient of friction on a car tire.
• Calculate ideal speed and angle of a car on a turn.

Any force or combination of forces can cause a centripetal or radial acceleration. Just a few examples are the tension in the rope on a tether ball, the force of Earth’s gravity on the Moon, friction between roller skates and a rink floor, a banked roadway’s force on a car, and forces on the tube of a spinning centrifuge.

Any net force causing uniform circular motion is called a centripetal force    . The direction of a centripetal force is toward the center of curvature, the same as the direction of centripetal acceleration. According to Newton’s second law of motion, net force is mass times acceleration: net $\text{F}=\text{ma}$ . For uniform circular motion, the acceleration is the centripetal acceleration— $a={a}_{c}$ . Thus, the magnitude of centripetal force ${\text{F}}_{\text{c}}$ is

${\text{F}}_{\text{c}}={m\text{a}}_{\text{c}}.$

By using the expressions for centripetal acceleration ${a}_{c}$ from ${a}_{c}=\frac{{v}^{2}}{r};\phantom{\rule{0.25em}{0ex}}{a}_{c}={\mathrm{r\omega }}^{2}$ , we get two expressions for the centripetal force ${\text{F}}_{\text{c}}$ in terms of mass, velocity, angular velocity, and radius of curvature:

${F}_{c}=m\frac{{v}^{2}}{r};\phantom{\rule{0.25em}{0ex}}{F}_{c}=\text{mr}{\omega }^{2}.$

You may use whichever expression for centripetal force is more convenient. Centripetal force ${F}_{\text{c}}$ is always perpendicular to the path and pointing to the center of curvature, because ${\mathbf{a}}_{c}$ is perpendicular to the velocity and pointing to the center of curvature.

Note that if you solve the first expression for $r$ , you get

$r=\frac{{\mathrm{mv}}^{2}}{{F}_{c}}\text{.}$

This implies that for a given mass and velocity, a large centripetal force causes a small radius of curvature—that is, a tight curve.

## What coefficient of friction do car tires need on a flat curve?

(a) Calculate the centripetal force exerted on a 900 kg car that negotiates a 500 m radius curve at 25.0 m/s.

(b) Assuming an unbanked curve, find the minimum static coefficient of friction, between the tires and the road, static friction being the reason that keeps the car from slipping (see [link] ).

Strategy and Solution for (a)

We know that ${F}_{\text{c}}=\frac{{\mathrm{mv}}^{\text{2}}}{r}$ . Thus,

${F}_{\text{c}}=\frac{{\mathrm{mv}}^{\text{2}}}{r}=\frac{\left(\text{900 kg}\right)\left(\text{25.0 m/s}{\right)}^{\text{2}}}{\left(\text{500 m}\right)}=\text{1125 N.}$

Strategy for (b)

[link] shows the forces acting on the car on an unbanked (level ground) curve. Friction is to the left, keeping the car from slipping, and because it is the only horizontal force acting on the car, the friction is the centripetal force in this case. We know that the maximum static friction (at which the tires roll but do not slip) is ${\mu }_{\text{s}}N$ , where ${\mu }_{\text{s}}$ is the static coefficient of friction and N is the normal force. The normal force equals the car’s weight on level ground, so that $N=\mathit{mg}$ . Thus the centripetal force in this situation is

${F}_{\text{c}}=f={\mu }_{\text{s}}N={\mu }_{\text{s}}\text{mg}\text{.}$

Now we have a relationship between centripetal force and the coefficient of friction. Using the first expression for ${F}_{\text{c}}$ from the equation

$\begin{array}{c}{F}_{\text{c}}=m\frac{{v}^{2}}{r}\\ {F}_{\text{c}}=\text{mr}{\omega }^{2}\end{array}\right\},$

#### Questions & Answers

what is work
Ojo Reply
Force times distance
Karanja
product of force and distance...
Arif
Is physics a natural science?
Adebisi Reply
what is the difference between a jet engine and a rocket engine.
Samuel Reply
explain the relationship between momentum and force
Joseph Reply
A moment is equivalent multiplied by the length passing through the point of reaction and that is perpendicular to the force
Karanja
How to find Squirrel frontal area from it's surface area?
Pooja Reply
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Muhammed Reply
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benedict Reply
hi
Dancan
hello
adolphus
are you an elementary student too?
benedict
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adolphus
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Che
hi
Miranwa
yes
Miranwa
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Miranwa
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Miranwa
what is strain?
SAMUEL
Change in dimension per unit dimension is called strain. Ex - Change in length per unit length l/L.
ABHIJIT
strain is the ratio of extension to length..=e/l...it has no unit because both are in meters and they cancel each other
adeleke
How is it possible for one to drink a cold drink from a straw?
Karanja Reply
most possible as it is for you to drink your wine from your straw
Selina
state the law of conservation of energy
Sushma Reply
energy can neither be destroy or created,but can be change from one form to another
dare
yeah
Toheeb
it can neither be created nor destroyed
Toheeb
its so sample question dude
Muhsin
what is the difference between a principle and a law?
Mary Reply
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ghulam
philippines
Mary
why?
Mary
you are beautiful
ghulam
are you physics student
ghulam
laws are ment to be broken
Ge
hehe ghulam where r u from?
Muhsin
yes
dare
principle are meant to be followed
dare
south Africa
dare
here Nigeria
Toheeb
principle is a rule or law of nature, or the basic idea on how the laws of nature are applied.
Ayoka
Rules are meant to be broken while principals to be followed
Karanja
principle is a rule or law of nature, or the basic idea on how the laws of nature are applied.
tathir
what is momentum?
prakash Reply
is the mass times velocity of an object
True
it is the product of mass and velocity of an object.
The momentum possessed by a body is generally defined as the product of its mass and velocity m×v
Usman
momentum is the product of the mass of a body of its velocity
Ugbesia
what about kg it is changing or not
vijay Reply
no mass is the quantity or amount of body so it remains constant everywhere
Ahsan
yes
Siyanbola
remains constant
taha
mass of an object is always constant. and that is universally applied.
Shii
mass of a body never changes but the weight can change due to variance of gravity at different points of the world
Saheed
what is hookes law
Joshua
mass of an object does not change
SAMUEL
Is weight a scalar quantity
esther Reply
weight is actually a force of gravity with which earth attracts us downwards so it is a vector quantity. and it has both direction and magnitude
Ahsan
ty
Denise
weight is the earth pull of the body
Ugbesia
why does weight change but not mass?
Theo
Theo, the mass of an object can change but it depends on how you define that object. First, you need to know that mass is the amount of matter an object has, and weight is mass*gravity (the "force" that attracts object A to the object B mass).
Nicolas
So if you face object A with object B, you will get a different result than facing object A with object C, so the weight of object A changes but not its mass.
Nicolas
Now, if you have an object and you take a part away from it, you are changing it mass. Lets use the human body and fat loss process as an example.
Nicolas
When you lose weight by doing exercise, you are being attracted by the same object before and after losing weight so the change of weight is related to a change of mass not a change of gravity.
Nicolas
The explanation of this is simple, we are composed of smaller particles, which are itself objects, so the loose of mass of an object actually is the separation of one object is two different ones.
Nicolas
But if you define an object because of its form and characteristics and not the amount of mass, then the object is the same but you have taken a part of it mass away.
Nicolas
Theo, weight =mass. gravity, here mass is fixed everywhere but gravity change in different places so weight change not mass.
ABHIJIT
yup weight changes and mass does not. That's why we're 1/3 our weight on the moon
clifford
weight is the product of mass × velocity w=m×v = m(v-u) but v=u+1/2at^ weight is a scalar quantity mass of an obj is the amount of particles that obj cont
Usman
mass is fixed always while weight is dynamic
Usman
Why does water wet glass but mercury does not?
Yusuf
thanks guys
Theo
Yusuf Shuaibu, for water the Adhessive force between water molecules and glass is greater than the cohessive force between it's own molecules but for Mercury the cohessive force will be greater in comparison with adhessive force. For this water wet glass but Mercury does not.
ABHIJIT
in electrostatic e bonite rod electron is static. they cannot flow to other. because static. is it correct?
prabir Reply
Is weight a scalar quantity
esther
wieght is the vector
ghulam
yes
Mohet
Yes
Karanja
what is specific heat capacity of watee
paul Reply
what is mass
Siyanbola
@siyanbola Resistance to acceleration
Dillon
The specific heat capacity of water is 1 calorie/1C°/ for 1 gram of water . it means that number of calories required to raise the temperature of 1g of water from 15 to 16C° is 1.
Khalil
understood?
Khalil
I think it's 1 in joules/kgC
Dillon
Anderson where are you from?. . &. what is your qualification
Khalil
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Khalil
Micheal
lawrence
what is acceleration
lawrence
rate of change of velocity is acceleration
Khalil
its amount of heat to raise the temlrature through one kelvin of substance .
ghulam
The amount of heat energy required to raise the température of water by 1K
Cffrrcvccgg
infact a it must be a unit mass of water
Cffrrcvccgg
approximately equal to 4184J/Kg/K
Cffrrcvccgg
Just got through thermodynamics last semester. Also a change in 1 degree in celcius is equivalent to a change in 1 degree kelvin
Dillon
Also it's 1J/kgK or 4.184 cal/gK or /gC
Dillon
I think, at least
Dillon
Anderson are you good in physics numerical problems . if yes... . then plz help me. i am good in physics theory but nill in numericals
Khalil
I can try, what's the problem? I may be busy soon but I will reply today or tomorrow
Dillon
Numericals 🙄
Khalil
4200kJ/kgk...
Trevor
J
Trevor
SHM and uniform circular motion
Ishaq

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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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