**What You'll Learn?**

# Difference between Centripetal Force and Centrifugal Force

## What is Centripetal Force?

Centripetal force is the force that acts on an object moving in a circular path, always directed towards the center of the circle. It is responsible for keeping the object in its circular path.

### Examples of Centripetal Force

- A car taking a turn on a curved road.
- A satellite orbiting the Earth.
- A ball tied to a string and being swung around in a horizontal circle.

## Uses of Centripetal Force

Centripetal force is used in various real-life applications:

- Roller coasters utilize centripetal force to keep the riders in their seats while experiencing curves and loops.
- Clothes in a washing machine stick to the drumâ€™s walls due to centripetal force.

## What is Centrifugal Force?

Centrifugal force is often misunderstood as a real force, but it is actually a perceived force that arises when an object is viewed from a rotating reference frame. It appears to push the object away from the center of the circle.

### Examples of Centrifugal Force

- When a stone is tied to a string and spun around, the string will become taut and exert a force that is perceived as pushing the stone outward.
- A rider in a rotating amusement park ride feels pushed against the outer edge due to the perceived centrifugal force.

## Differences between Centripetal Force and Centrifugal Force

Difference Area | Centripetal Force | Centrifugal Force |
---|---|---|

Theoretical Concept | Centripetal force is a real force acting towards the center of the circle. | Centrifugal force is a perceived force, not an actual force. |

Direction | Centripetal force always acts towards the center of the circle. | Centrifugal force appears to act away from the center of the circle. |

Magnitude | The magnitude of centripetal force is equal to the centripetal acceleration multiplied by the mass of the object. | The perceived magnitude of centrifugal force depends on the mass and speed of the object. |

Newtonâ€™s Laws | Centripetal force is consistent with Newtonâ€™s laws of motion. | Centrifugal force is an apparent force and not explicitly defined in Newtonâ€™s laws. |

Action and Reaction | Centripetal force is an action force. | Centrifugal force is not an action force. It results as a reaction to the centripetal force. |

Frame of Reference | Centripetal force is observed from an external reference frame. | Centrifugal force is observed from a rotating reference frame. |

Real Force | Centripetal force is a real force that can be measured. | Centrifugal force is not a real force. It is an apparent force caused by the inertia of the object. |

Objects in Motion | Centripetal force is always acting on an object in circular motion. | Centrifugal force is not an independent force. It is the result of an objectâ€™s inertia. |

Physical Representation | Centripetal force can be represented by tangible forces such as tension, friction or gravity. | Centrifugal force is a conceptual force used to explain the objectâ€™s motion. |

Dependence on Reference Frame | Centripetal force exists regardless of the reference frame. | Centrifugal force varies with the choice of the rotating reference frame. |

### Conclusion

The main difference between centripetal force and centrifugal force lies in their nature, direction, and theoretical concepts. Centripetal force is a real force acting towards the center of the circular path, while centrifugal force is a perceived force that appears to push the object away from the center. Understanding these differences helps in comprehending the dynamics of objects in circular motion.

### People Also Ask:

**Q: Is centrifugal force a real force?**

A: No, centrifugal force is not a real force. It is an apparent force that arises due to the viewing of an object from a rotating frame of reference.

**Q: What is centripetal force used for?**

A: Centripetal force is used to keep objects in circular motion, such as satellites orbiting the Earth or cars taking turns on curved roads.

**Q: Can centrifugal force exist without centripetal force?**

A: No, centrifugal force is always the result of an objectâ€™s inertia resisting centripetal force. Without centripetal force, there would be no centrifugal force.

**Q: What is the relationship between centripetal force and velocity?**

A: The centripetal force required to keep an object in circular motion increases with the square of the objectâ€™s velocity.

**Q: Why do we experience centrifugal force on rotating rides?**

A: The rotation of the ride creates a centrifugal force, which gives the riders the sensation of being pushed outward due to their inertia resisting the change in direction.