Pseudo Force vs Centrifugal Force
Pseudo force and centrifugal force are two events that occur in the study of mechanics. Precisely written, these are phenomena or rather concepts used in the study of non-inertial frames. It is important to have a thorough understanding in both, pseudo and centrifugal forces, in order to have a good understanding in the classical mechanics of bodies having a circular motion. The theories of pseudo force and centripetal force come very useful in fields such as physics, automobile engineering, machinery, space science, astrophysics, and even relativity. In this article, we are going to discuss what pseudo force is and what centrifugal force is, their applications in various fields, similarities and finally their differences.
The word pseudo means lying or false, which means pretending to be something, which it is not. Pseudo force is not actually a force; we will see what pseudo force really is in this section. Pseudo force is known in many names, such as fictitious force, d’Alembert force, or inertial force. This model of pseudo force is required only in non-inertial frames of references. An inertial frame, is a frame (a set of coordinates) that is not moving, or is moving at a constant velocity. Therefore, a non-inertial frame is a set of coordinates, which are moving with acceleration. Earth is a good example for a non-inertial frame. A pseudo force is a force defined to describe the acceleration of a body in a non-inertial frame relative to an inertial frame. Since all the Newtonian and classical mechanics equations are defined to an inertial frame, it is necessary to add a pseudo force in order to make calculations possible. There are four common pseudo forces. These are defined for following events. For relative acceleration on a straight line, there is a rectilinear force. For acceleration due to rotation, there are centrifugal force and Coriolis force. For a situation of variable rotation, there is Euler force. It is important to understand that these forces are not actual forces. They are made up concepts, which make calculations easier. These forces are introduced so that the inertial acceleration of the body can be accounted for, in calculations.
Centrifugal force is also a form of the pseudo force. Any rotating object has a centripetal force acting is a direction radially outward from the center of rotation. However, centrifugal force is not physical force acting on the system, it is a concept made up for ease of calculations. The real force acting on a rotating system is actually towards the center, and it is called the centripetal force. Centrifugal force is another way of adding the momentum of the body to the calculations. It is also considered as the reactive force for the centripetal force. As soon as the centripetal force is removed the centrifugal force also becomes zero.
What is the difference between Pseudo Force and Centrifugal Force?
• Centrifugal force is actually a special case of pseudo force.
• While centrifugal force occurs only in rotating systems, pseudo forces occur in any non-inertial system.