Duncombe, Raynor L. Formerly, Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Texas, Austin, Texas.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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A force whose line of action is always directed toward a fixed point. The central force may attract or repel. The point toward or from which the force acts is called the center of force. If the central force attracts a material particle, the path of the particle is a curve concave toward the center of force; if the central force repels the particle, its orbit is convex to the center of force. Undisturbed orbital motion under the influence of a central force satisfies Kepler's law of areas. See also: Celestial mechanics
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