Forces and circular motion

Apply forces with cursor to make the ball follow a circular path.

Drag the cursor to exert a force on the ball when needed. The cursor exerts a force on the black ball if it is within 5 units of the ball. The arrow displays the force due to the cursor.

  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?

End of simulation. E-mail the answers to

Physlets developed by Wolfgang Christian of Davidson College.