Physics and Loop Design
For a person riding in a car while traveling in a circle, he perceives a force pushing him to the outside of the circle. But what force is physically pushing him? It can not be friction. Frictional forces oppose the direction of motion. It cannot be a normal force1 . There is not a surface pushing the rider to the outside. To travel in a circle, a force pointing to the inside of the circle, or curve, is needed. The force pointing to the inside is called the centripetal force.
To understand a source for the misconception of the direction of
this force, consider what it feels like when traveling around a
corner in the back seat of a car. Everyone who has been in this
situation knows that the passenger will slide to the outside of the
curve. To understand that there is no force pushing the passenger to
the outside, a change of reference frame is needed. Move the point of
view from inside the car to a location outside, above, the car.
CENTRIPETAL FORCE AND WHAT SUPPLIES IT
If you use or find this page useful or have any comments, please contact the author so maybe he'll do more. Author: Tony Wayne
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