# Physics Notes - Circular Motion

2.6.2 State the expression for centripetal acceleration.

The acceleration of any object moving in a circle at a constant speed is given by the equation: (1)

a⃗ =v2r

It is important to note that centripetal acceleration is very special. It is the acceleration required for an object to move in a circle at a constant speed. The reverse is also true if an object's acceleration is equal to v2r (and perpendicular to the velocity) then the object must be going in a circle. If an object is moving in a circle at with a changing velocity, then the overall acceleration is not equation to the centripetal acceleration. However the acceleration perpendicular to the velocity (that is the part changing the direction) is still equal to v2r 2.6.3 Identify the force producing circular motion in various situations Sometimes people will make reference to the "centripetal force." This is not a real force, its a pseudo-force. In general the centripetal force is made up of many other forces and is the sum of those forces. This is not unlike the idea of a net force which is also generally the sum of multiple forces. If you have a ball on the end of a string and you swing it in a vertical circle...

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