What causes a person in circular motion to feel a push away from the direction of their acceleration?

1 Answer
Feb 27, 2018

The push that someone feels is due to the fictional 'Centrifugal Force', which is not really a force


What the person is actually feeling is a direct result of the 2nd part of Newton's 1st Law, meaning that an object in motion will continue in that path unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force.

So, when a person is traveling around a circle, their body wants to continue in a straight line.

Then, another critical thing to understand is that Centripetal Acceleration and therefore Centripetal Force points towards the center of a circle. So what this means is while the person might experience what to them feels like a force pushing outward, the force is really directed inward towards the center of the circle.

So let's say you're the passenger in a car (right seat) and the car turns left. It seems like you're getting pushed to the right into the door, but what's really happening is your body wants to go straight and the car is turning in front of you.