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Name: Faith Elijah A.


Grade & Section: 10-Alphecca

Uniform Circular Motion

Uniform Circular Motion

The object's motion in a circular path with a fixed radius at a constant speed is what we call as a Uniform
Circular Motion. It has four main qualities, Time, Velocity, Displacement, Acceleration.

Figure A. Uniform Circular Motion

Velocity, Time, and Displacement

Velocity is defined as the displacement of an object over a period of time. It can be represented in an


In circular motion, the distance traveled by the object will be equal to the circumference of the circular

C= 2πr

Together, we can form the equation for the Time or the period of revolution of an object in UCM,

T= 2πr/V


T= period of revolution

2πr= distance traveled by the object

V= constant speed of the object

The magnitude or speed of the object will be the same throughout the path however, the direction of
the velocity vector will be changing. The velocity at a given point is tangent to the circle of motion at that
point and consequently perpendicular to a radius at that point thus, it is called tangential velocity.
Centripetal Acceleration

In uniform circular motion, objects are accelerating due to the change in direction. Because of the
varying direction of the velocity, we must define an instantaneous acceleration. The instantaneous
acceleration is defined as the limit of the ratio of change in velocity over the change in time, as the
change in time approaches zero.


This acceleration, turns out, has the constant magnitude,

a= V2 / r.

The acceleration is directed towards the center of the motion so it is commonly known as centripetal
acceleration which causes an inward force to the object. It is not to be confused with centripetal force
because it is not about tension, gravity and magnetic froces.

Centripetal Force

Newton's law of inertia states that if am object is in motion, it'll remain in motion unless acted upon by
net external force or an unbalanced force. The object in circular motion have a net force acting on it and
it is called centripetal force otherwise, it'll just travel a straight path.

F= ma


F= (W/g) a

Since a= V2 / r for the UCM, we have Fc for the centripetal force to keep an object in UCM.

Fc=mV2 / r


Fc= WV2 / gr


m= mass of the object

W= weight of the object

V= speed of circular motion

r= radius of the path

g= acceleration of gravity
Example 1: A 3-kg rock swings in a circle of radius 5 m. If its constant speed is 8 m/s, what is the
centripetal acceleration?

Given: m= 3kg. V= 8 m/s

r= 5m ac=?


Since we are looking for the Centripetal acceleration we will use,

ac= V2 / r

ac= (8 m/s)2 / 5 m

ac= 12.8 m/s2

We can also solve for the centripetal force since the mass is given.

Fc= mac

Fc= 3 kg x 12.8 m/s2

Fc= 38.4 kg x m/s2 or 38.4 N

Example 2: A stone with a mass of 100 grams is whirled in a horizontal circle at the end of a cord, 100 cm
long. If the tension in the cord is 2.5 newtons, what is the speed of the stone?

Given: m= 100 grams r= 100 cm

Fc= 2.5 newtons V=?


Since the data are in metric units we will use,

Fc=mV2 / r

Recalling, 1 N = 1kg x 1 m/s2


2.5 N= (0.100kg x V2) / 1.00m

V2= [( 2.5 kg x m/s2 ) 1.00m] / 0.100kg

V2= 25 m/s2
V= 5 m/s2

This shows that the force required to keep an object moving in a circular path depends on: weight or
mass and speed of the object also the radius of the circular path.

The greater the weight, the faster the object is moving, the greater the force is required, and the smaller
the radius is, the greater is the tendency for an object not to follow it.q