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MIT Physics Demo -- Centrifugal versus Centripetal Motion

A wooden ball is attached to the rim of a spinning wheel. The ball is held in place by a string. When the spring is cut, the ball flies in a straight tangent to the wheel.

In the camera's frame of reference, the ball constantly accelerates around in a circle due to the centripetal force pulling it inwards. When the string is cut, the acceleration stops, and the ball flies away in a straight tangential line. When the string is cut in the rotating frame of reference, a ficticious force (centrifugal force) accelerates the ball.

Comments (2)

Thanks! We used this in homeschool physics. It was a great visual. It would have been a shade better if the person's arm was not in the way on the second view…

Posted 8 years by Anonymous User

blah blah blah

Posted 8 years by Anonymous

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MIT Department of Physics Technical Services Group

MIT Department of Physics Technical Services Group

Category: Science | Updated over 6 years ago

Created
August 28, 2008 14:21
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