Five Things To Know About Centripetal Force

This article is about the facts related to the centripetal force. Before we get to the facts, we need to understand the concept of centripetal force with definition and example.

What is the centripetal force?

Centripetal force is defined as the force that acts on the object that is rotating in a circular path. The force acts in the direction towards the center of the circle. Centripetal force is responsible for an object to continue its motion in a circular path.

Examples of centripetal force

Following is the list of centripetal force example:

  • The other example of centripetal force is tying a rock to one end of the string and the other end with a finger. Now start rotating this in a circular motion keeping it in the horizontal plane. The mechanism behind this is that the motion of stone is at a right angle with respect to gravity and that’s the reason why the stone doesn’t fall.
  • Electrons orbit the nucleus in an atom. The reason why the electrons orbit around the nucleus in an atom is because of centripetal force on the electron.
  • A car taking a circular bend. The reason why a car moves with such ease in a circular bend is because the centripetal force is acting providing the frictional force between the tires and the roads.
  • Satellite revolving around the earth. The gravitational force between the earth and the satellite supplies the centripetal force for the revolution of a satellite around the earth.

What is the formula of centripetal force?

Following is the formula of centripetal force:

F = mω2R


  • F is the centripetal force
  • m is the mass of the object
  • ω is the angular velocity
  • R is the radius of the circular path.

Following are the factors related to the nomenclature used in the formula:

  • To maintain a circular motion, the mass of the object should be more, the angular velocity less and smaller radius of circular motion.
  • If R is high and angular velocity less, the object can still be in a circular path.
  • If R is small, angular velocity will be higher to compensate R so as to generate the required centripetal force.

To learn more about centripetal force and other concepts like what is gravitation, the law of gravitation, etc, visit BYJU’S.

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