How It Works

What is centrifugal force?


Centrifugal force describes the sensation one has of being pushed outward when moving on a circular path, but it’s not really a force. The feeling of being pushed outwards when speeding round a bend in a car, or on a merry-goround, comes from your preference to move in a straight line. Isaac Newton showed that all objects have inertia and will either stay at rest, or move in a straight line, unless a force acts on them. When you move in a circle there is a force pulling on you, constantly changing your direction from that of a straight line. This is centripetal force and pulls inwards. The feeling of the ‘outward pull’ of centrifugal force is just your natural resistance to this change in direction.

Answered by Rik Sargent