# A Brilliant Explanation of the Different Aspects of Centripetal Force

What is centripetal force? How is it calculated? What are the various aspects of centripetal force? Find the answers to these questions along with a lot more, in the following post.

Ishani Chatterjee Shukla

Last Updated: Feb 25, 2019

*Centripetal Force*, is used in mathematics and physics, to define the influence that causes a single unit of an object to experience a change in speed and direction for the purpose of following a curved pathway. Its direction is perpendicular to the object's velocity at the immediate osculating circle of the curved pathway.

*centripetal*is coined by combining two Latin words -

*centrum*(meaning

*center*) and

*petere*(meaning

*tendency towards*). The combination of both these terms conjures up the implication that it is a force aimed towards the central portion of the inner side of the angle of the pathway's curvature.

Formula

Now that we've understood the basics of centripetal force, let's take a look at how it can be mathematically calculated. The various components of a typical equation consists of the following:-

- mass of the moving object
- speed at which the object is moving
- radius of curvature of the pathway

*F = ma*

_{c}= mv^{2}/ rwhere:

*F*= Centripetal force*m*= mass of moving object*a*= Centripetal acceleration_{c}*v*= Speed at which the object*m*is moving along the pathway*r*= Radius of curvature

Two Perspectives

With regards to movement along a curved pathway, the theory of centripetal force applies to two different scenarios of an object moving along a curved path. These two situations can be put down as follows:

*Uniform Circular Motion*- Where the moving object moves along a regular circular or elliptical path at a fixed or consistent rate of rotation.

*Non Uniform Circular Motion*- Where the object moves along a circular pathway at an irregular rate of rotation, causing the object to form tangents with the curvature of the pathway at times.