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What is Centrifugal Force?-Definition, Formula, Application

August 24, 2022
written by Adeel Abbas

Centrifugal force is a pseudo force in a circular motion that is directed away from the center of the circle. The force doesn’t exist when a frame of reference is used to make the measurement. It only comes into play when we change our reference frame from a ground/inertial to a rotating frame.

What is centrifugal force?

A pseudo force that appears to act on all objects when viewed in a rotating frame of reference is called a centrifugal force in Newtonian mechanics.

It is directed away from an axis that is parallel to the axis of rotation and travels through the system’s origin.

The formula of centrifugal force

The centripetal force formula describes a real phenomenon and reverses the direction of the force to describe a fictional phenomenon.


Where F = Centrifugal force

m=mass of the object

v =speed or velocity of the object 


Centrifugal Force Example

A common experience that gives rise to the idea of a force that changes direction is encountered by passengers riding in a vehicle that is changing direction.

Newton’s second law of motion states that if a car is traveling at a constant speed along a straight road, the net force acting on them is zero and the passenger inside is not speeding. The passenger feels a force that seems to be pulling them toward the right when the car enters a curve that bends to the left.

The force is a fictional one. It is necessary for the passenger’s local frame of reference to explain their sudden tendency to accelerate to the right relative to the car, a tendency which they must resist by applying a rightward force against the seat in order to remain.

Newton’s third law states that the seat pushes them toward the left since they push the seat toward the right.

The passenger’s reference frame must include the centrifugal force to counteract the leftward force applied to the passenger by the seat, and to explain why unbalanced force does not cause them to.

Applications of Centrifugal force

The operations of many rotating mechanical systems can be easily visualized in terms of force. There is an example of this. A governor regulates the speed of an engine by using spinning masses that move radially, as the engine changes speed.

Centrifugal force causes the radial movement in the reference frame of the spinning masses. Chainsaws, go-karts, and model helicopters are some of the small engine-powered devices that use a centrifugal clutch.

Inertial drum brake ascenders used in rock climbing and inertia reels used in many automobile seat belts operate on the same principle as this.

In the proposed designs for rotating space stations, Centrifugal forces can be used to create artificial gravity. The Mars Gravity Biosatellite would have studied the effects of Mars-level gravity on animals.

Liquid metal or plastic can be dispersed through the negative space of a mold through the use of spin casting and Centrifugal Casting.

Science and industry use Centrifuges to separate substances. The pressure in fluid-filled tubes that are oriented to the axis of rotation is increased by the force of the centrifugation in the reference frame.

The force of the sculpture moves elements or particles that are denser than fluid outward. As opposed to being generated by gravity, this principle is generated by Centrifugal force. Centrifugal forces are used on some amusement rides. A Gravitron’s spin forces riders against a wall and allows them to be elevated above the machine’s floor in defiance of Earth’s gravity, for example.

Related FAQs

What is called centrifugal force?

Centrifugal force is the apparent outward force experienced by an object moving in a curved path, away from the center of rotation.

What is centrifugal force and an example?

Centrifugal force is the outward force that acts on an object moving in a curved path. An example is the feeling of being pushed outward when turning sharply in a car.

What is the difference between centripetal force and centrifugal force?

Centripetal force is the force that acts towards the center of rotation, keeping an object moving in a curved path. Centrifugal force is the apparent outward force experienced by the object in that curved path. Centripetal force and centrifugal force are equal in magnitude but act in opposite directions.

What is a simple example of centrifugal force?

A simple example of centrifugal force is when you swing a bucket of water around in a vertical circle. The water inside the bucket experiences centrifugal force, causing it to move away from the center of rotation and stick to the bottom of the bucket.