Mon September 17, 2012 By: Shiladitya Biswas

what is centripetal force?

Expert Reply
Mon September 17, 2012
Whenever an object moves in a circular path we know the object is accelerating because the velocity is constantly changing direction.  All accelerations are caused by a net force acting on an object.  In the case of an object moving in a circular path, the net force is a special force called the  centripetal force(not centrifugal!).   Centripetal is Latin for "center seeking".  So a centripetal force is a center seeking force which means that the force is always directed toward the center of the circle.  Without this force, an object will simply continue moving in straight line motion.
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