What is Centripetal Force?
It is the force necessary to make an object move in a circle. It is directed perpendicular to the velocity of the object, which means it points toward the center of the circle. (Exploring Creation with Physical Science, p. 261)
Here are three general principles regarding centripetal force:
1) Circular motion requires centripetal force,
2) The larger the centripetal force, the faster an object travels in a circle of a given size.
3) At a given speed, the larger the centripetal force, the smaller the circle.
1 plastic bucket
2 cups water
sturdy sting, if necessary
First, see if the bucket can be easily held at knee height of the person doing the experiment. If not, add a sturdy string to the bucket handle to achieve the proper placement.
Next, place about 2 cups of water into the bucket. Do not add too much water, or the bucket will be too heavy for the experiment.
Now, quickly move the bucket in a circular motion like a ferris wheel.
What happens to the water? What happens if your change the speed of your circular motion? What happens if you change the size of the circular motions, moving the bucket in a smaller or a larger circle? What did you observe about centripetal force from this experiment?
Two of my teens are completing Apologia's Exploring Creation with Physical Science. I replaced this experiment with the Chapter 11.1 experiment. This was a lot more fun!