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Math AIResources
  • Explaining Centrifugal Force

  • Characterizing it as a Pseudo Force

  • The Mathematical Formula for Centrifugal Force

  • Centrifugal Force Examples

  • Fathoming Relative Centrifugal Force

  • Principal Insights on Centrifugal Force

Home > Resources > Explore Centrifugal Force: Definition, Formula & Units

Explore Centrifugal Force: Definition, Formula & Units

Have you ever experienced a subtle force nudging you outward while on a carousel? Intriguingly, this unseen force, which we'll discuss in this piece, mirrors the sensation of being pushed away from the carousel's hub. This sensation is attributed to a pseudo force known as Centrifugal force.

Grasping the science behind this could pave the way for generating synthetic gravity! But, what exactly is a pseudo force, and in what ways does it manifest? Continue reading for insight!

Explaining Centrifugal Force

The Centrifugal force is felt as a pseudo force by an entity traveling along a curved route, exerting an outward pull from the curve's focal point.

Consider an example to better understand centrifugal force.

Passengers in a swiftly cornering vehicle sense a force pushing them away from the curve. A similar phenomenon occurs when spinning a water-filled bucket using a string; the Centrifugal force propels the water toward the bucket's bottom, preventing spillage as the bucket is angled.

Characterizing it as a Pseudo Force

Though this force's effects are commonplace, why do we categorize it as a pseudo force? To answer this, it's crucial to introduce another force, acting toward the curve's center, which is real.

This entails a force guiding an object's curved trajectory, directed inward toward the curve's center.

Any rotating mass around a point demands a centripetal pull toward the rotation's center. Absent this pull, the trajectory would be linear. The necessity for circular motion stems from this inward-directed need, described as the necessity. An inward force is essential, or else, the object's path would straighten, aligning with the circle’s perimeter.

Without this centripetal or inward force, circular motion wouldn't be feasible. Centrifugal force emerges as a counter to centripetal force. This elucidates why centrifugal force seems to eject objects from the rotation's center, a concept tied to an object's inertia. Reflecting on the car turn example, it's the resistance to directional change from the passengers. Let's dissect this from a mathematical standpoint.

The Mathematical Formula for Centrifugal Force

To grasp centrifugal force as a pseudo force or a felt sensation, we commence with the centripetal force formula. Note, these forces are identical in size but diverge in orientation.

Picture a rock on a string spun at a steady speed. The string's length is \(r\), defining the circle's radius. Visualizing this spinning rock, it's notable that the stone's tangential speed remains consistent throughout the circular path, albeit its direction shifts. What, then, does tangential speed imply?

Tangential velocity represents the speed of an object at a specific moment, moving along a tangent to its path.

As the rock spins, its tangential velocity vector continuously adjusts direction, always pointing tangent to the circle.

And when velocity changes, it signifies acceleration. Referring to Newton's first law of motion, an object maintains its linear path unless acted upon by an external force. Here, spinning the rock implies pulling on the string, generating tension and thus a force that accelerates the rock circularly. This force is termed Centripetal force.

The magnitude of a centripetal or radial force follows Newton's second law: $$\overset\rightharpoonup{F_c}=m\overset\rightharpoonup{a_r},$$

where \(F_c\) symbolizes the centripetal force, \(m\) the mass, and \(a_r\) the radial .

An entity moving circularly endures radial acceleration, calculated via: $$\overset\rightharpoonup{a_r}=\frac{V^2}r,$$

with \(a_r\) as radial acceleration, \(V\) as tangential speed, and \(r\) the circle's radius.

Merging this with the centripetal force formula yields: $$\overset\rightharpoonup{F_c}=\frac{mV^2}r$$

The tangential velocity is also defined as: $$V=r\omega$$

$$\mathrm{Tangential}\;\mathrm{velocity}=\mathrm{angular}\;\mathrm{velocity} \times\mathrm{radius}\;\mathrm{of}\;\mathrm{circular}\;\mathrm{path}$$

A new representation of centripetal force then is: $$\overset\rightharpoonup{F_c}=mr\omega^2$$

Furthermore, by Newton's third law, every action has an analogous but opposing reaction. For centripetal force, the counteracting force is termed centrifugal force. This force is deemed a pseudo force as it arises solely from centripetal force's action. Thus, centrifugal force's magnitude parallels centripetal force's but in reverse direction. The corresponding formula for centrifugal force calculation is also: $$\overset\rightharpoonup{F_c}=mr\omega^2$$

Here, mass is measured in \(\mathrm{kg}\), radius in \(\mathrm{m}\), and \(\omega\) in \(\text{radians}/\text{sec}\). For application, we convert angular velocity from degrees/sec to radians/sec using \(\mathrm{Deg}\;\times\;\pi/180\;=\;\mathrm{Rad}\).

Centrifugal Force Examples

Let's now delve into an example employing centrifugal force concepts.

Considering a \(100\;\mathrm g\) sphere, affixed to a string's end, orbiting a circle at \(286\;\text{degrees}/\text{sec}\). Given the string's length as \(60\;\mathrm{cm}\), ascertain the centrifugal force acting on the sphere.

Step 1: Establishing parameters

$$\mathrm m=100\mathrm g,\;\mathrm\omega=286\;\deg/\sec,\;\mathrm r=60\mathrm{cm}$$

Step 2: Converting units

Translating degrees to radians: $$\text{Radians}=\text{Deg}\;\times\;\pi/180\;$$ $$=286\;\times\pi/180\;$$ $$=5\;\text{radians}$$

Therefore, \(286\;\text{degrees}/\text{sec}\) equates to \(5\;\text{radians}/\text{sec}\).

Transforming centimeters to meters $$1\;\mathrm{cm}\;=\;0.01\;\mathrm{m}$$ $$60\;\mathrm{cm}\;=\;0.6\;\mathrm{m}.$$

Step 3: Calculating the centrifugal force using and radius

Applying the equation $$F\;=\;\frac{mV^2}r\;=\;m\;\omega^2\;r$$ $$\mathrm F\;=100\;\mathrm g\times5^2\;\mathrm{rad}^2/\sec^2\times0.6\;\mathrm m$$ $$F\;=\;125\;\mathrm N$$

The sphere endures a centrifugal force of \(125\;\mathrm N\). This also represents the centripetal force requisite for sustaining circular motion under the specified conditions.

Fathoming Relative Centrifugal Force

Centrifugal force emerges as a pivotal theme in numerous scientific endeavors. Here, we delve into Relative Centrifugal Force (RCF) and its pivotal role.

Defining Relative Centrifugal Force The radial force exerted by a spinning object, scaled against earth's gravitational pull, is known as Relative centrifugal force (RCF), a crucial variable in centrifugation processes.

Expressed in gravitation units (\(\mathrm{G}\)), RCF merges rotation speed (RPM) and radius from the rotation's core. The RCF calculation formula is as follows: $$\text{RCF} = 11.18 \times r \times \left(\frac{\text{RPM}}{1000}\right)^2$$

Centrifuges deploy centrifugal force to differentiate materials by density, a process vital across scientific and industry spectrums.

Employing gravity units to represent force might appear unconventional, yet it aids in quantifying objects' centrifugal experiences. A \(3\;\mathrm{G}\) RCF means the force is thrice that of gravity (\(9.81\;\mathrm{m/s^2}\)).

In wrapping up, recognizing RCF's essence is fundamental for centrifugation process optimization and attaining precise outcomes. This discourse aims to illuminate Relative Centrifugal Force's criticality in scientific research and practical implementations.

Principal Insights on Centrifugal Force

  • Centrifugal force manifests as a pseudo force for objects in arc motion, thrusting outward from the motion's axis.
  • While centripetal force fosters axis rotation, centrifugal force applies in a converse manner.
  • Tangential velocity denotes an object's speed along a tangent to its circular route.
  • The centrifugal force equation is \(\overset\rightharpoonup{F_c} = m r \omega^2\), with \(\omega\) as the angular speed in radians per second.
  • Ensure angular speed conversion from degrees to radians using \(\text{Deg} \times \pi/180 = \text{Rad}\).

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