Gravitational Force vs Centripetal Force
Gravitational force is one of the four fundamental forces of the universe. In nonlinear motions such as the planetary motion, a centripetal force is required. Both of these forces play a vital role in the study of fields such as astronomy, physics, space exploration, cosmology and many more. It is required to have a good understanding in these concepts in order to excel in such fields. In this article, we are going to discuss what centripetal force and gravitational force are, their similarities, the definitions of gravitational force and centripetal force, and finally the difference between centripetal force and gravitational force.
Gravitational Force
Sir Isaac Newton was the first person to formulate gravity. However, before him Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilee laid out the foundation for him to formulate the gravity. The famous equation F = G M_{1} M_{2} / r^{2} gives the strength of the gravitational force, where M_{1}and M_{2} are point objects, and r is the displacement between the two objects. For real life applications, they can be normal objects of any dimension and r is the displacement between the centers of gravity. The gravitational force is considered an action at a distance. This gives rise to the problem of time gap between interactions. This can be omitted using the gravitational field concept. Gravitational force only attracts object. Repulsion is not present in gravitational fields. The gravitational force by earth on an object is also known as the weight of the object on earth. Gravity is a mutual force. The force from object A on object B is as same as the force from object B on object A. The gravitational force is measured in Newton.
Centripetal Force
Centripetal force is the force, which keeps the objects in a circular or any curved path. The centripetal force always acts on the direction of the immediate center of the motion. Centripetal acceleration is the acceleration, which occurs due to the centripetal force. It obeys the Newton’s second law of motion in the form of centripetal force = centripetal acceleration x mass. The centripetal force necessary for keeping the moon on orbit around the earth is provided by the gravitational force between earth and moon. The centripetal force necessary for keeping a car from deviating from a turn is produced by the friction and the normal force from the surface acting on the vehicle. Since the centripetal acceleration is directed towards the center of motion, the object tries to come close to the center. A centrifugal force is necessary to balance this. Centripetal force is measured in Newton. Centripetal acceleration is measured in meters per seconds squared, which is s linear quantity.
What is the difference between Gravitational Force and Centripetal Force? • Gravitational force only occurs between two masses. • A centripetal force is required in any nonlinear motion. • The gravitational force acts as the centripetal force for the planetary movements. • Gravitational force creates both linear and nonlinear movements, but the centripetal force only creates nonlinear movements.

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