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Circular Motion-Definition, Types, and Example

August 2, 2022
written by Adeel Abbas

Circular motion is a type of motion that is very simple. As the name suggests, it moves in a circular path. The circular motion is not restricted to only a single place, but it goes around the same circle over and over again.

It is considered as a circular motion because the shape of the movement resembles a circle.

What is Circular Motion?

It is a type of motion that is often associated with humans. The circular motion is also known as a rotational motion. The rotation of this motion is around the center point of the circular motion.

image showing the circular motion

The displacement of a body moving with circular motion is angular displacement and the velocity is called angular velocity. There is also the relation between angular and linear velocity.

When a body moves in a circle a force is required which tends to rotate the body in a circular path which is called centripetal force. The momentum of the body moving in a circular path is called angular momentum.

Law of conservation of angular momentum state that the total angular momentum of the body remains constant. If you have noticed any mechanical device, you will find that it uses circular motion.

Circular Motion Example

A motor is one example of this type of motion. The electric motor has a circular shaft. The motor is used to rotate the object and provide the force required to move the object.

Other types of motion are not restricted to circular motion. For example, linear motion is the one that moves in a straight line. Linear motion is considered to be one of the simplest motions that exist.

The motion of an artificial satellite is also circular. In these satellites, artificial gravity is produced for the proper working of the crew. The crew members are in a condition of weightlessness on satellite. During motion, there is a difference between real and apparent weight.

You will also find the rotating motion that moves in an arc. The arc is the one that has the shape of a curve. Rotating motions are also known as helical motions.

Apart from the basic motion, there is another motion that is called compound motion. The compound motion is the one that has two or more motions occurring at the same time. For instance, if you are on a road and you are in a vehicle, then you will find that the car is moving in a circular motion, but it is also moving forward.

We will discuss the different types of circular motion that are used in a variety of industries.

Types of Circular Motion

In this section, we will discuss the various types of circular motion that are used in various industries.

Uniform circular motion

Uniform circular motion is the motion of a particle moving at a constant speed on a circle.

Non-uniform Uniform circular motion

Uniform circular motion is the motion of a particle moving at a variable speed on a circle.

Rotary motion

In this type of motion, the object is rotated. It is very common in the kitchen. If you are making any food and you are rotating it to make it ready, then it is a good example of the rotary motion.

Conical motion

This is also known as a spiral motion. This is a motion that takes place when a cone-shaped object is rotating. It is often seen in the manufacturing sector. In the manufacturing sector, this is used to manufacture things like a spiral staircase or a turbine.

Circular motion:

This is a type of motion that is quite popular in the agricultural sector. It is the one that is associated with the harvesting of crops and it is a type of motion that is used in the industrial sector.

Peristaltic motion:

This is the motion that is used to drive a piston. It is a type of motion that is quite similar to the peristaltic action. It is also known as a rotary pump action.

Facts about Circular Motion

We know that we are moving circularly, but did you know that we are also moving in a circular way around the sun? If you think that it is a weird concept, then here are some interesting facts about circular motion.

The first thing that strikes you about a car moving in a circular motion is that the movement of the wheel is continuous. When you look at the circular motion from far, it looks like the car is traveling straight.

The motion of the Earth

The earth circularly revolves around the sun. It revolves around its axis for 24 hours, but the rotation of the Earth itself is also circular.


While it is revolving around the sun, the speed of the Earth around its axis is very high. If the speed is measured in kilometers per second, then it is 7,891,634 kilometers per second.

Solar eclipse

A solar eclipse is also known as a total solar eclipse, but only a small portion of the sun is covered and it is visible in the sky for 1 to 2 minutes.

Direction of motion

The motion of the moon revolves around the earth in an anti-clockwise direction. The moon revolves around the earth for 27 days, but the moon moves clockwise in its orbit.

If you look at the clouds, then you will find that some of them are made of water droplets that are moving from the top to the bottom. The process of convection is also similar to circular motion.