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  Student Engineer  


Centripetal Force & Acceleration

"Centripetal" means "seeking the centre" … it comes from the Latin word peto (I seek)


Working out centripetal Force

A body of mass 5kg is rotating in a horizontal plane at the end of a steel wire with an angular speed of 100 RPM. The distance from the centre of rotation to the centre of the mass is 2 metres. Calculate the centripetal force acting on the steel wire.

Finding the centripetal force

Mass: 5kg
Angular Speed: 100 RPM (10.47 Rad/s)
Length: 2M

You will need the following equation:

Step 1: Convert RPM to Radians/s

1RPM = 2π/60

Therefore to get your RPM into Radians/s simply multiply your RPM speed by 2π/60.
100RPM x 2π/60 = 10.47 Rad/s

Step 2: Work out the angular volocity

Angular velocity can be worked out by squaring the angular speed.
ω² = 10.47²
ω² = 109.62 rad/s

Step 3: Obtaining the centripetal force

Using the equation we can now work out the centripetal force

F = 5kg x 109.62 x 2

Answer: F = 1096.2 kg-m/s²

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