Great question! Centrifugal force occurs when an
object is forced to travel along a non-straight
path such as around a center of rotation.
Consider for example a swinging ball attached to a
peg by a string. As the ball is moving around the
peg, it wants to escape this orbit by traveling
straight, but the string is strong and keeps it
rotating around. This tendency to travel straight
is called inertia. From the peg’s point of view,
the force that the ball is pulling on the string
is centrifugal force. From the ball’s perspective
though, the peg is pulling on the string to keep
the ball rotating around. This is called
centripetal force. The two forces are equal and
opposite of each other, just as Newton’s Third Law
of Motion says.
Centrifugal "force" is the result of something
called the "conservation of momentum". Anything
moving will continue moving in the same direction
unless acted on by a force. Anything moving in a
circle will need force constantly acting on it to
change its direction so that it doesn't veer off
in a straight line. However, just because one
thing is turning due to force doesn't mean that
things on or in it are turning as well - unless
the sides of the thing doing the turning is also
exerting force on its contents (which it must, if
they are to stay inside). This process - the
tendency of things to veer off or the force
required to keep them from doing this - is what we
know of as centrifugal force.
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