Barger, Vernon D. Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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The inward force required to keep a particle or an object moving in a circular path. It can be shown that a particle moving in a circular path has an acceleration toward the center of the circle along a radius. This radial acceleration, called the centripetal acceleration, is such that, if a particle has a linear or tangential velocity υ when moving in a circular path of radius R, the centripetal acceleration is . If the particle undergoing the centripetal acceleration has a mass M, then by Newton's second law of motion the centripetal force FC is in the direction of the acceleration. This is expressed by Eq. (1),
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