Circular Motion Problem Solving

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But when we view it from above, you see this path traced out. Now, a lot of people want to answer that question with the centripetal force.

So this is a bird's eye view that you would see if you were looking down from above the table, and this would be the side view. They'd say that it's the centripetal force that points inward that causes this ball to go in a circle, and that's not wrong.

Use Newton's second law again for another direction, and that'll get you to where you need to be.

So in other words, let's draw a quality force diagram.

We've got forces, but they're kind of all over here.

This side view's gonna better illustrate all the forces involved.

And when a rope pulls, we call that the force of tension, so I'm gonna call this the tension. Now we know what kind of force is acting as the centripetal force. Sometimes, people want to do this, they're like, oh yeah, there's a force of tension, and there's also a centripetal force.

But that's just crazy because this tension is the centripetal force. Similarly, over here, I'm not gonna draw the centripetal force twice. I mean, it's possible you could have two forces inward.

So we've already got the normal force upward and the force of gravity downward.

Now, I'm gonna draw this tension pointing inward, that's the force that's acting as the centripetal force. We want to find this force of tension, so even though I could if I wanted to use Newton's second law for this vertical direction, the tension doesn't even point that way, so I'm not gonna bother with that direction first.


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