2 3 Wild Wednesday Centrifugal and Centripetal | Ballet Webb

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wild Wednesday Centrifugal and Centripetal

Wild Wednesday Centrifugal and Centripetal

Here we go with two very similar sounding words that we need to know because they are involved in many things a dancers does – like turning! Plus it is especially interesting for science nerds (like me).

What is the difference between centrifugal force and centripetal force? According to Fouad A. Saad https://www.livescience.com/52488-centrifugal-centripetal-forces.html : Centripetal force (from the Latin, “center fleeing”)is the inward-seeking pull of an object. Centrifugal force is the opposite; it appears to pull objects away from the center or axis of rotation.” 

Perhaps a better explanation is from 

“Centripetal force is a real force that counteracts the centrifugal force and prevents the object from "flying out," keeping it moving instead with a uniform speed along a circular path.”

 In other word, one might say that centrifugal force is a fake force (notice the word “appears” in the definition in the second paragraph above). Confused yet?
Here is a great little chart from the same source:

             Centrifugal Force
                                                          Centripetal Force
Tendency of an object following a curved path to fly away from the center of curvature. Might be described as “lack of centripetal force.”
The force that keeps an object moving with a uniform speed along a circular path.
Along the radius of the circle, from the center towards the object.
Along the radius of the circle, from the object towards the center.
Mud flying off a tire; children pushed out on a roundabout.
Satellite orbiting a planet
Fc = mv2/r
Fc = mv2/r
Defined by
Chistiaan Hygens in 1659
Isaac Newton in 1684
Is it a real force?
No; centrifugal force is the inertia of motion.
Yes; centripetal force keeps the object from "flying out".

Now you know!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #21vv:
“The difference between Centrifugal force and Centripetal force is helpful to understand.”

Links of the Day (for all science nerds!):

Quote of the Day:
“The law of centrifugal force seems to be as true for the human condition as it is for the Newtonian mechanics. The faster our lives spin, the more things tend to fly apart.”

                Help expand the knowledge base!
 Leave a comment about any instructions, ideas, or images that worked best for you!

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