PH1011
Mechanics
Circular motion and unbalanced force
•
A particle moving with speed
v
around the
circumference of a circle of radius
r
has an
acceleration of
v
2
/ r
directed towards the centre.
•
From N2, acceleration implies action of an
unbalanced force
.
•
Example
: a stone whirled around in a horizontal
circle on the end of a string. The
tension
in the
string is the force that supplies the acceleration.
•
In problems like this involving circular motion, we
need to:
–
identify the unbalanced force, then
–
apply N2 to equate it to (mass x acceleration), i.e.
mv
2
/ r
.
–
The resulting equation provides a condition that must be
satisfied in order to maintain the circular motion that was
originally assumed.

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