# Centripetal vs Centrifugal Force: How They Affect Motion!!!

The main difference between centripetal and centrifugal force is that centripetal force acts towards the center of rotation. And, centrifugal force acts away from the center of rotation. The other significant difference between them is that due to centripetal force, an object accelerates towards the center of rotation of the object.

On the other hand, due to centrifugal force, an object appears to accelerate away from the center of rotation of the object. In this exclusive article, I am gonna walk you through some of the most significant differences between them.

In fact, I will also talk about some of the similarities between the two. So without wasting any more time, let’s dive right in…!!!

## What are Centripetal Forces?

Centripetal forces are real forces that act toward the objects’ center of rotation. These forces always act in the inward direction. Unlike centrifugal forces, which is an apparent or pseudo force, centripetal force is a genuine force required to maintain a circular path.

As per Newton’s third law of motion, an object will continue to move in a straight line unless acted upon by an external force. Hence, for an object to move in a circular path, what it needs is a centripetal force that prevents an object from flying off in a straight line.

### Properties of Centripetal Forces

Some of the properties of centripetal forces are as follows:

• Centripetal forces are real forces.
• They act towards the center of rotation.
• These forces are directed perpendicular to the object’s velocity.
• The magnitude of centripetal force increases as the velocity of the object increases.
• The radius of the circular path affects the magnitude of the centripetal force, etc.

### Examples of Centripetal Force

Some examples of centripetal forces are as follows:

• Artificial Gravity in Space Stations
• Magnetic Resonance Imaging
• Artificial Satellites
• Ice Skater’s Spin
• Washing Machine Drum, etc.

## What are Centrifugal Forces?

Centrifugal forces are apparent or pseudo forces that act away from the object’s center of rotation. These forces always act in the outward direction. Unlike centripetal forces, which is a real force, centrifugal force is not required to maintain a circular path.

In fact, these forces arise due to the inertia of an object moving in a circular path. Centrifugal force is often explained by considering the reference frame of the rotating object. In this frame of reference, the object appears to be at rest, and an observer within it perceives an outward force pushing them away from the center.

However, from an external, stationary frame of reference, there is no actual force acting outward. Instead, the object’s inertia wants to continue moving in a straight line, but the inward force (centripetal force) required for circular motion causes it to curve.

### Properties of Centrifugal Force

Some of the properties of centrifugal force are as follows:

• Centrifugal forces are apparent or pseudo forces.
• These forces act in the outward direction.
• Centrifugal force is directly proportional to the square of the angular velocity.
• Centrifugal force is an accelerative force, etc.

### Examples of Centrifugal Force

Some examples of centrifugal force are as follows:

• Amusement Park Rides
• Separating Cream from Milk
• Disk Brakes in Vehicles
• Spin Art, etc.

## Centripetal and Centrifugal Force Formula

Even though centripetal forces are regarded as center-seeking forces and centrifugal forces are regarded as center-fleeing forces, yet, they both are calculated using the same formula. Mathematically, they are calculated as:

F = mac = mv2/r

where,

ac = Centripetal/Centrifugal acceleration

m = mass of the object

v = velocity of the object 