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Roller Coasters

How can you control centripetal force on a roller coaster?


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May 30, 2009 6:56PM

Centripetal force does not exist on a roller coaster or anywhere else. You would more be thinking along the lines of Centrifugal force. This is the force that pushes outwards. For instance, swinging a ball on a string, it is centrifugal force that keeps the ball extended outwards, and if you let go of the string, catapults it outwards. ---------------------------------------------------- In physics, centrifugal (centre-fleeing) force is a fictitious force. It is the reactionary force (Newton's 3rd Law) to the centripetal (centre-seeking) force in a rotational reference frame. In an inertial frame of reference, only centripetal force exists. The magnitude of the centripetal force is calculated as: Fc = mv2/r Therefore, if you want to increase the centripetal force, you can increase the mass of the object undergoing rotational motion, increase the velocity of the object, or decrease the radius of the circle of rotation and vice versa if you want to decrease the centripetal force.