Centripetal Force

Ever wondered in the game of javelin throw, what is the force acting on the dumbbell? The force that moves in a certain direction and speed and what are the factors influenced? Let’s find out.

If an object is moving in a circle, then there must be a force acting on it, because it’s changing direction. acceleration can involve a change in speed and change in direction, The force that moves something in a circle is called a centripetal force. Centripetal means, centre seeking or towards the centre.


It takes many forms. For example we have a thread tied to a stone and move it along a circular path, the centripetal force in this case is the tension of the string pulling on the stone, and the direction of the centripetal force is towards the centre of the circle.

The earth’s gravitational pull on the moon is the centripetal force as is the electric force pulls on the electrons in an atomic nuclei.
Let’s have a brief understanding of the uniform circular motion before moving forward and then come to centripetal force.

As per the Newton’s First law of motion, unless and until a form of unbalanced force acts upon a moving object, it moves in a straight direction. So, a presence of unbalanced force is prerequisite for the objects to move in circle. And that force is centripetal force.

Learn the mathematics related to centripetal force from here.

Practise This Question

sp2 hybrid orbitals have equal s and p character.