Enter the mass, tangential velocity, and radius of the object into the calculator to determine the centripetal force.
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Centripetal Force Formula
The following equation is used to calculate the Centripetal Force.
Fc = (m*V^2) / r
- Where Fc is the centripetal force (N)
- m is the mass of the rotating object (kg)
- V is the tangential velocity of the object (m/s)
- r is the radius of rotation (m)
To calculate the centripetal force, multiply the mass by the velocity squared, then divide by the radius of rotation.
What is a Centripetal Force?
A centripetal force is a force that makes a body follow a curved path. Its direction is always orthogonal to the body’s motion and towards the fixed point of the instantaneous center of curvature of the path. Isaac Newton described it as “a force by which bodies are drawn or impelled, or in any way tend, towards a point as to a center.”
In Newtonian mechanics, gravity provides the centripetal force responsible for astronomical orbits. One typical example involving centripetal force is when a body moves with constant speed along a circular path. The centripetal force is directed towards the center of the circle in which the object moves, causing uniform circular motion. The mathematical description was derived in 1659 by Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens.
How to Calculate Centripetal Force?
The following example outlines the steps and information needed to calculate Centripetal Force.
First, determine the mass of the object. For this example, the object will have a mass of 50 kg.
Next, determine the velocity of the object. In this case, the instantaneous velocity is measured as 25 m/s.
Next, determine the radius of rotation. For this problem, the radius is found to be 5 m.
Finally, calculate the centripetal force using the formula above:
Fc = (m*V^2) / r
Fc = (50*25^2) /5
Fc = 6,250 N