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Concept# Circular motion

Summary

In physics, circular motion is a movement of an object along the circumference of a circle or rotation along a circular path. It can be uniform, with a constant angular rate of rotation and constant speed, or non-uniform with a changing rate of rotation. The rotation around a fixed axis of a three-dimensional body involves the circular motion of its parts. The equations of motion describe the movement of the center of mass of a body. In circular motion, the distance between the body and a fixed point on the surface remains the same.
Examples of circular motion include: special satellite orbits around the Earth (circular orbits), a ceiling fan's blades rotating around a hub, a stone that is tied to a rope and is being swung in circles, a car turning through a curve in a race track, an electron moving perpendicular to a uniform magnetic field, and a gear turning inside a mechanism.
Since the object's velocity vector is constantly changing direction, the moving object is undergoing acceleration by a centripetal force in the direction of the center of rotation. Without this acceleration, the object would move in a straight line, according to Newton's laws of motion.
In physics, uniform circular motion describes the motion of a body traversing a circular path at a constant speed. Since the body describes circular motion, its distance from the axis of rotation remains constant at all times. Though the body's speed is constant, its velocity is not constant: velocity, a vector quantity, depends on both the body's speed and its direction of travel. This changing velocity indicates the presence of an acceleration; this centripetal acceleration is of constant magnitude and directed at all times toward the axis of rotation. This acceleration is, in turn, produced by a centripetal force which is also constant in magnitude and directed toward the axis of rotation.
In the case of rotation around a fixed axis of a rigid body that is not negligibly small compared to the radius of the path, each particle of the body describes a uniform circular motion with the same angular velocity, but with velocity and acceleration varying with the position with respect to the axis.

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