Introduction to the Dynamics of Uniform Circular Motion Up to this point we have examined Newton's Laws as they apply to linear motion. In other words we have examined how forces change the magnitude of the velocity of an object, but not how forces affect an object's direction. Because velocity is a vector quantity, with both speed and direction, when an object moves with uniform speed in a circular path, its velocity therefore undergoes constant change, meaning it experiences acceleration. We can consequently analyze uniform circular motion using Newton's Laws. Centripetal Force Centripetal force is the force that causes centripetal acceleration. By using Newton's Second Law in conjunction with the equation for centripetal acceleration, we can easily generate an expression for centripetal force. Fc= ma= Remember also that force and acceleration will always point in the same direction. Centripetal force therefore points toward the center of the circle.
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