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Centrifugal Force and Acceleration- Introduction & Explanation

Aug 29, 2022

Key Concepts

• Centrifugal force

• Acceleration

• Angular acceleration


In this session we are going to study centrifugal force. We are going to differentiate between acceleration in rectilinear motion and uniform circular motion, and derive a relation to calculate the same. 

Centrifugal force: 

An outward force on a rotating or revolving body is called a centrifugal force. Centrifugal means “center-fleeing.” Centrifugal force does not pull an object outward. This is a misconception. 

 Centrifugal force 

Newton’s First Law says that if a body is at rest or moving at a constant speed in a straight line, it will remain at rest or keep moving in a straight line at constant speed unless it is acted upon by a force. It is not due to any real force rather due to inertia. The centrifugal force is not a true force as it is an effect of rotation. It is equal and opposite to the centripetal force 

Centripetal force vs centrifugal force 


It is defined as the rate of change of velocity.  

Acceleration =

change in velocityTimechange in velocityTime

Acceleration exists when there is a change in velocity. Velocity is a vector quantity. It has both magnitude as well as direction associated with it.  


If u is the initial velocity and v is the final velocity and t is the time taken then the formula is : 

a =


This formula is used for linear motion, for the uniform circular motion we calculate the angular acceleration. 

Centrifugal Acceleration:

It depends on the radius of the circle and the speed of the object. 

It is denoted by “ac” Its unit is “m/s .” 

Questions and answers 

Question 1: Draw the direction of the centrifugal force if the object is released from its orbit at point 1 and 2. 

question 1 figure 


For object 1 it will go in horizontal direction towards the right.  

For object 2 it will go vertically down.

Answer 1 figure 

Question 2: The speed of a boy of weight 40 Kg in a merry-go-round of radius 20 m is 40 m/s. What is the centrifugal force experienced by the system? 


Given that:  

Speed of boy = 40 m/s 

Radius of merry go round = 20 m 

Mass of boy = 40 kg 

Using formula,




(40220)40220 =

40×40×402040×40×4020 = 3200 N  

Question 3: What is the centripetal acceleration of an object if it going round in circles with velocity of 20 km/h and comes to rest in 20 s. The radius of the circle is 20 m.  


Given that:  

Initial velocity, 

u = 20 km/h  = 20

 ×10003600  ×10003600 


200 m/s36200 m/s36

Final velocity, v = 0 m/s 

Radius, r = 20 m 

Time period t = 20 s 





120  =

200 ×20020 ×36 × 36 = 1.54 m/s2


  • An outward force on a rotation or revolving body is called a Centrifugal force.
  • It is pointed outwards.
  • Centrifugal force is an inertial force.

Fc = Mv2/R

  • Centrifugal acceleration depends upon velocity and radius.



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