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Physlet

Forces and circular motion

Click the "Start Animation" link below the applet window and then click the "Start" button.

The blue object can be used to push the red object. The goal is to make the red object move around the circle with as little movement of the blue object as possible.

The blue object exerts a force on the black ball if it is within 5 units of the ball. The arrow displays the force due to the blue object on the red object.

1. Run the applet several times noticing how the ball responds to the force.

2. Try “tapping” the ball with the cursor in order to make the ball travel around the circle. This takes some practice and skill.

3. What is the direction of the applied force in order to make the object follow the circular path?

4. What happens to the ball in the circular path if the force is removed?

This physlet was written by Don Collins at Warren-Wilson College.

are scriptable Java Applets written by Wolfgang Christian of Davison College.