Centripetal Force Formula

A force that acts on a body moving in circular path and directed towards the center around which the body is moving is called Centripetal force.

When an object travels around a circular path with a constant speed, it experiences an accelerating centripetal force towards the center.

The equation for centripetal force is as shown below

Fc = mv2 / r


Fc is centripetal force

m is mass

v is velocity

r is the radius of the path

Example 1

A van of 1,250 Kg is traveling at 50.0 m/s covers a curve of radius 2 m. calculate the centripetal force.


The given parameters are

mass = 1,250 Kg

radius = 2 m

Velocity = 50.0 m/s

Substitute the values in the given formula

Centripetal Force

f = mv2 / r

f = (1,250 * (50)2) / 2

f = 1250 N

Example 2

A ball has of mass 200 gram is revolving around the circular path of radius 7 cm. If it completes one revolution in 10 seconds, find the magnitude and direction of the centripetal force acting on the ball.


The given parameters are,

mass = 0.2 kg

radius = 0.07 m

Time period = 10 seconds.

We have the equation

W = 2∏ / T

= (2 * 3.14) / 10

W = 0.628 radians per second

Centripetal Force, F = m * r * w2

= 0.2 * 0.07 * (0.628)2

= 0.00552 N


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