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Centripetal force, illustration. A hand spins a ball in a circle on the end of a string, demonstrating centripetal force. Centripetal force is a force that makes a body follow a curved path. Newton's First Law states that an object will continue in a state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line unless acted upon by a force. In this demonstration the hand exerts a force on the string which pulls the ball towards the centre. This centripetal force prevents the ball from continuing in a straight line. The force required is equal to the product of the ball's mass (m) and the square of its velocity (v), divided by the radius of its path (r).
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