what is the difference between centripetal and centrifugal force?


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Virginia Lou Profile
Virginia Lou answered

Dear Rathi Bala,

First of all, centripetal and centrifugal work in opposite directions; centrifugal throws stuff outward from a circle, like mud thrown off a moving car tire. Centripetal pulls things inward toward the center, like planets held in orbit around the sun, for example.

Then, centrifugal is not a real force, it happens simply because of inertia...the tendency for objects to keep moving in a straight line. Centripetal is thought of as a 'real' force, as the gravity which holds the planet. (Current thinking, of course, suggests even gravity is due to the curvature of space, however...)

...or, centripetal as the force of the rope holding the tether ball to its pole.

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There are websites you can find with a search engine as Google to explain thoroughly this brief intro to your interesting question.

Tom  Jackson Profile
Tom Jackson answered

Centrifugal force (Latin for "center fleeing") describes the tendency of an object following a curved path to fly outwards, away from the center of the curve. It's not really a force; it results from inertia — the tendency of an object to resist any change in its state of rest or motion. Centripetal force is a real force that counteracts the centrifugal force and prevents the object from "flying out," keeping it moving instead with a uniform speed along a circular path.


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