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Unformatted text preview: the “centrifugal”
force, but we shall not use this term because it often creates confusion.) The passenger invents this ﬁctitious force to explain what is going on in her accelerated
frame of reference, as shown in Figure 6.12b. (The driver also experiences this effect but holds on to the steering wheel to keep from sliding to the right.)
The phenomenon is correctly explained as follows. Before the car enters the
ramp, the passenger is moving in a straight-line path. As the car enters the ramp
and travels a curved path, the passenger tends to move along the original straightline path. This is in accordance with Newton’s ﬁrst law: The natural tendency of a
body is to continue moving in a straight line. However, if a sufﬁciently large force
(toward the center of curvature) acts on the passenger, as in Figure 6.12c, she will
move in a curved path along with the car. The origin of this force is the force of
friction between her and the car seat. If this frictional force is not large enough,
she will slide to the right as the car turns to the left under her. Eventually, she encounters the door, which provides a force large enough to enable her to follow the
same curved path as the car. She slides toward the door not because of some mysterious outward force but because the force of friction is not sufﬁciently great
to allow her to travel along the circular path followed by the car.
In general, if a particle moves with an acceleration a relative to an observer in
an inertial frame, that observer may use Newton’s second law and correctly claim
that F m a. If another observer in an accelerated frame tries to apply Newton’s
second law to the motion of the particle, the person must introduce ﬁctitious
forces to make Newton’s second law work. These forces “invented” by the observer
in the accelerating frame appear to be real. However, we emphasize that these ﬁctitious forces do not exist when the motion is observed in an inertial frame.
Fictitious forces are used only in an accelerating frame and do not represent “real”
forces acting on the particle. (By real forces, we mean the interaction of the particle with its environment.) If the ﬁctitious forces are properly deﬁned in the accelerating frame, the description of motion in this frame is equivalent to the description given by an inertial observer who considers only real forces. Usually, we
analyze motions using inertial reference frames, but there are cases in which it is
more convenient to use an accelerating frame. Figure 6.12 (a) A car approaching a curved exit ramp. What causes a front-seat passenger to
move toward the right-hand door? (b) From the frame of reference of the passenger, a (ﬁctitious) force pushes her toward the right door. (c) Relative to the reference frame of the Earth,
the car seat applies a leftward force to the passenger, causing her to change direction along with
the rest of the car. QuickLab
Use a string, a small weight, and a
protractor to measur...
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This document was uploaded on 09/19/2013.
- Fall '13
- Circular Motion