Re: is it centrifugal force or centripedal force that does not exist?

Area: Physics
Posted By: Dennis Windrim, ,Edmonton Public Schools
Date: Sat Sep 13 18:26:58 1997
Area of science: Physics
ID: 872601506.Ph
Message:
```Centripetal force exists, without a doubt, but you'll still get an argument
about the reality of centrifugal force. To set things up, consider this:
you are sitting in a stationary vehicle, which then accelerates rapidly.
You feel yourself pushed back into your seat. Was there a force which
pushed you backward? No. Your body mass was merely displaying inertia in
response to the forward force applied to the vehicle. "Centrifugal" force
is the same thing, except that the vehicle is rotating, or following a
curved path. Centripetal force is what holds the vehicle (or other body) in
its path - it might be the elastic force provided by the rope tied to a
whirling bucket, or the frictional force of the tires on the pavement of a
curved racetrack. "Centrifugal" force is what the water, or the passengers,
feel as the straight line they would be travelling in in the absence of
other forces (imagine, for instance, the path  each would travel if the
rope broke or the car skidded) is counteracted by the walls of the
container in which they are riding. As the force of inertia tries to keep
us travelling in a straight line, the walls of the container push on us to
force us to continue in the curved path to which the centripetal force
constrains it. The centrifugal force is most emphatically not, as "common
sense" has it, a force which pushes us out from the center. The centrifugal
force is our perception of the battle between centripetal force and the
force of inertia, and is equal in magnitude but opposite in direction to
the centripetal force.

```

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