Centripetal Force, About Centripetal Force, Calculation of the Centripetal Force (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Centripetal Force

  • Force is required to make an object move
  • Force acts differently on objects depending on the type of motion it exhibits.
  • In case of curvilinear motion, two types of force are there, i.e.. ,
    • Centrifugal force
    • Centripetal force
  • Centripetal force is the force acting towards the centre of the circular path.
  • Whereas, the centrifugal force acts in a direction pointing away from the centre of the circle.

About Centripetal Force

  • Definition: “The component of force acting on an object in curvilinear motion which is directed toward the axis of rotation or center of curvature”
  • The Newton is unit of centripetal force.
  • This force is always directed perpendicular to the direction of the displacement of the object.
  • If an object accelerates according to the changes of velocity, then it can change either its speed or direction of motion.
  • In easy way, if any moving objects in a circular path is constantly changing its direction means it is constantly accelerating.
  • If we use Newton՚s second law of motion, if an object is travelling in a circular path, it is found that the centripetal force of an object moving in a circular path always acts towards the centre of the circle.

Calculation of the Centripetal Force

The Centripetal Force Formula is given as the product of mass (in kg) and tangential velocity (in meters per second) squared, divided by the radius (in meters) .

Calculation of the Centripetal Force

Which implies that on doubling the tangential velocity, the centripetal force will be quadrupled? Mathematically it is written as:


  • F = Centripetal force.
  • m = mass of the object.
  • v = speed or velocity of the object.
  • r = radius.

Centripetal Force Examples

  • The force that pulls or pushes an object toward the centre of a circle as it travels; causing angular or circular motion is called a Centripetal Force.
  • A few examples of Centripetal Force
    • Spinning a ball on a string or twirling a lasso: The centripetal force is provided by the force of tension on the rope pulls the object in toward the centre.
    • Turning a car: the centripetal force is provided by the frictional force between the ground and the wheels.
    • Going through a loop on a roller coaster: The force is provided by the Normal Force as the seat or wall pushes you toward the centre.
    • Planets orbiting around the Sun: Force is provided by Gravity.

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