Centripetal Force Experiment

Sitting in a roller coaster, you do not fall out due to the centripetal force that makes the roller coaster follow a curved path and is always directed towards the center. Proving this phenomenon can be one good option for a science project as it doesn’t involve any high costs as well as it’s easy to demonstrate.

The whole concept is that when a body moves on a circular path with constant speed it doesn’t fall out. When the body moves with a uniform speed in the circular path, the acceleration produces a net force directed towards the center which keeps the body in balance. Satellites orbiting round the Earth are high end examples of same basic concept.

Let’s investigate the effect of Centripetal Force by means of a simple experiment.

Things Needed:

– Small plastic bucket with a handle

– A rope about 3 feet in length

– Water


  • 1

    The Bucket and Water

    Take a small plastic bucket with handle and pour some water into it. Make sure that you do not fill more than half of the bucket with water.

  • 2

    Tying rope with bucket handle

    Now take a piece of rope no more than ½ inches in thickness and tie one end of the rope with the handle of the bucket. Hold the other end of the rope in your hand and give it a couple of wraps around your palm or wrist.

  • 3

    Spinning the Bucket

    When you are able to feel some tension in the rope due to the weight of water pulling your hand, start spinning the bucket quite fast in a vertical circle as in case of a roller coaster.

  • 4

    Observe the water

    When bucket starts moving in a circular path and establishes a uniform motion, it will be observed that the water inside the bucket does not fall over and remains in the bucket.

  • 5

    Repeat by replacing water

    The same experiment can be tried by replacing water with any other object in the bucket.

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