# 10 Differences Between centripetal force and centrifugal force

Difference between Centripetal Force and Centrifugal Force

# 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.

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.