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Re: Centrifugal Force

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  • Re: Centrifugal Force

    Here is more on centrifugal force!!

    In mechanics, when all forces and moments acting on a body are shown (i.e.
    the "free body diagram"), it is customary to use "inertia forces" to ensure
    equilibrium. An inertia force is a force equal and opposite to the net
    acceleration multiplied by the mass of the body. That is, it is equal and
    opposite to the external force acting on the body. For an object to move on
    a curved path, an acceleration directed towards the center of rotation is
    necessary (otherwise the object will maintain a straight-line path). This
    acceleration is one of the "normal" components of acceleration (the other
    normal component is the "coriolis" acceleration). The "centrifugal force" is
    the inertia force corresponding to this normal component of acceleration. It
    may be an imaginary force, if you like, - but an absolutely necessary one if
    the equilibrium equations are to be valid.

    Necip Berme, Ph.D.
    Professor, Mechanical Engineering
    The Ohio State University
    206 W 18th Avenue
    Columbus OH 43210

    Phone: 614 292-0859
    Fax: 614 430-5425

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Gary Christopher
    Sent: Monday, December 11, 2000 9:31 AM
    Subject: Centrifugal Force

    In teaching and studying Biomechanics I have used three textbooks, all of
    which mention, and then try to justify, the existence of centrifugal force.
    Yet if I check my physics book it tells me flat out that there is no such
    thing. What is the biomechanics community's take on the subject?

    Just so you know my personal leanings, I don't put any stock in its
    existence, so I'm left trying to convince my students why I'm right and
    their textbook is wrong.

    If we all believe Newton's Second Law of Motion, we should be able to easily
    determine that the so-called "centrifugal force" is, in fact, fantasy. If we
    believe Newton's Second Law, we should scoff at the notion of a force that
    does not have an accompanying acceleration.

    As is customary, I will post a summary of responses. Please reply directly
    to my email:

    Gary Christopher
    Brigham Young University

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