When a car is making a turn are we subjected to a centrifugal or a centripetal force?

kkanadekkanade Forum Coordinator
When a car 🚗 is making a turn are we subjected to a centrifugal or a centripetal force? 😵

Comments

  • Hi @kkanade

    This is a nice question! In order to turn the car must be subjected to a centripetal force. This force "pulls" the car, and anybody inside it, towards the center of rotation. So instead of going straight, the car would have a curved trajectory.

    From the point of view of any body moving on a curve an apparent force is experienced, the centrifugal force. The person in the car, for example, would feel to be pulled away from the center of rotation. This is just a relative point of view from inside the car. In reality the person would turn as the car is turning.

    The centripetal force is the real force acting on the people inside the car. The centrifugal force is just an apparent force.

  • That is correct. Is you want to see it in a different point of view, think about athletes doing hammer throwing. The hammer rotates as they rotate, because the athlete creates a centripetal force for the hammer.

    If you instead think about from the point of view of the hammer, it would feel like being pulled away from the athlete.

    However we know that as soon as the athlete releases the hammer, this would move tangentially to the previous rotating motion, and not in the direction of the centrifugal force. This because the centrifugal force is an apparent force. 

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