Centripetal Force

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Centripetal Force = The push or pull on a moving object toward the center of its curved path. Centripetal force is always a net force.

Centripetal force keeps the planets in orbit. According to Newtonís 1st law, all masses have inertia and would like to move at constant speed in a straight line. These objects have momentum. Earth wants to move straight but it is prevented from doing so due to the sunís gravity. The sun applies a centripetal force.




When you spin a bucket of water over your head without spilling a drop, you are also applying a centripetal force.

If you let go of the bucket, it will move in a straight line.

Centripetal Force Movie



Centripetal force pulls the plane toward the center of the circle. The planeís inertia and momentum make it want to fly straight.


While the coaster cars zoom around the loop, the track exerts a centripetal force toward the center of the loop.


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