Question #cf2dd

1 Answer
Mar 1, 2014

Centripetal force means "center seeking" force (centrum "center" and petere "to seek"). The Centripetal Force is the force directed towards the center of an object's circular path. Any motion in a curved path represents accelerated motion, and requires a force directed toward the center of curvature of the path. Sir Isaac Newton stated: "A centripetal force is that by which bodies are drawn or impelled, or in any way tend, towards a point as to a center."

The direction of the centripetal force, which makes the body follow a curved path, is always orthogonal to the velocity of the body, directed along the radius towards the center. Centripetal force is generally the cause of circular motion.

Centripetal force = mass x velocity2 / radius

The centripetal force is proportional to the square of the velocity, meaning that doubling the speed will require four times the centripetal force to keep the motion in a circle.