
The centripetal force is the net (resultant) force on any object moving in a circular path which is what causes it to move in that path, rather than in a straight line.
Where F = centripetal force, m = mass of object, r = radius of circle and v = velocity, centripetal force can be calculated using the formula F = mv^{2} r
This means that if the requirement is met and there is sufficient centripetal force, then there is circular motion at the radius and velocity described by the formula.
An example of centripetal force would be lumps of mud sticking to car tyres: if the adhesive forces of the mud meet the centripetal force requirement, a lump will travel in a circle as the tyres do, and so stick to them!
Anne Evans


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