MLA Citation: Bloomfield, Louis A. "Question 89"
How Everything Works 21 Apr 2018. 21 Apr 2018 <http://howeverythingworks.org/print1.php?QNum=89>.
89. Can you explain the term centripetal?
Centripetal means "directed toward a center." A centripetal force is a force that's directed toward a center. For example, a ball swinging around in a circle at the end of a string is experiencing a force toward the center of the circle—a centripetal force. Because the ball accelerates in the direction of the force, it accelerates centripetally. And because it experiences a fictitious force in the direction opposite its acceleration, it experiences an outward fictitious force away from the center of the circle. That fictitious force is called centrifugal "force." However, you should always recognize that this outward "force" is not a force at all, but an effect caused by the ball's inertia—its tendency to travel in a straight line.

Return to HowEverythingWork.org
Generated for printing on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at 13:35:12 EDT
Copyright 1997-2018 © Louis A. Bloomfield, All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy