a=v2r
v=2 rf
π
a=v2r
v=2 rT
π
a=v2r
Centripetal Force and Centripetal Acceleration
Introduction
Centripetal force is described as an external force necessary to make a body follow a curved path.
The centripetal force causes an object to travel or accelerate to the centre of the circle and this
acceleration is referred to as the centripetal acceleration. Any particular force or a combination of forces
can act to provide a centripetal force. Some common examples of forces which provide centripetal forces
are gravitational force, frictional forces, and magnetic forces. The centripetal force has the magnitude,
=
Fcentripetal
mv2r
.
The centripetal force produces acceleration towards the center of the circle. The circular path that an
object travels is determined by the magnitude of the linear velocity and the magnitude of the force acting
on the object. The velocity of an object in circular motion is constantly changing in direction thus is
implied that there is acceleration. In addition, throughout this experiment we will be determining the
relationship between the centripetal force and the period, frequency, and the radius. Circular motion
directly represents Newton’s Second Law,
=
F
ma
. If we recall, the acceleration of an object in a circular
motion is towards the center of the circle. From this we can deduce that the overall force on the string is
equivalent to the product of the mass and the gravitational force.
In this investigation we will be using the relationship between the gravitational force,
=
F
mg
and
the centripetal force to derive a general formula for centripetal force. We will to indentifying the
relationship between centripetal and the period, the frequency, and the radius.
Objective
The purpose of this investigation would be to determine the relationships between centripetal force
(centripetal acceleration) and radius, period, and frequency.
Materials
•
Rubber lab stopper
•
Standard mass set (512 metal washers)
•
1 small paper clip
•
2.0 m of fishing line
•
Glass tube ( wrapped with masking tape to prevent breakage)
•
Metre stick
•
Stopwatch
•
Safety goggles
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•
Marker
•
Masking tape
Uncertainty
Table 1:
Uncertainty
Apparatus
Limit of Reading
Uncertainty
Stop Watch
0.0001 (s)
± 0.05 (s)
Triple Beam Balance
0.1
(g)
± 0.05 (g)
Metre Stick
1.
(m)
± 0.05 (m)
In this investigation the margin for error is high for there was a large capacity for random and
human errors. The process of receiving data is very subject for we do not know whether the paper clip is
exactly 3 cm from the glass tube and this might have altered the data collected. It is important to note that
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 Spring '10
 Dr.Fleisig
 Circular Motion, Force, Mass, Rotation, Gravitational Force

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