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Centrifugal Reaction

Centripetal force acts on a body moving in a circular path to keep it on the circular path. According to Newton’s third law, every action will have an equal and opposite reaction. This reaction acts on the agency exerting centripetal force. It is equal in magnitude to the centripetal force, but directed away from the circular path. Hence, it is opposite in direction to the centripetal force.
This reaction is called centrifugal reaction; centrifugal means tending away from the centre (Figure 4.13).
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Figure 4.13 Centrifugal Reaction
The centripetal force and centrifugal reaction constitute action–reaction pair, as they act on different bodies.
Consider the planetary motion. Here, the gravitational pull by the sun on the planet is centripetal force that keeps it on its circular path, and the gravitational pull of the planet on the sun is centrifugal reaction. Therefore, centrifugal reaction is the reaction force that acts on the agency exerting centripetal force.
Another example can make it clearer. Assume you are whirling a piece of a small stone attached to the end of a string in a circular path in horizontal plane over your head. The string applies the centripetal force on the stone to keep it on the circular path. The stone in turn pulls the string and keeps it under tension. That is, centrifugal force is offered by the stone on the string. If the string is cut, the stone would fly away from the circular path and the string will lose its tension.

Examples of Centrifugal Reaction

Centrifuge: Centrifuge is a device to separate minute particles of different densities. Small tubes containing the particles in a liquid are suspended in a circular frame and rotated at a high speed in a horizontal circle. In a centrifuge, particles of larger density move farther away from the axis and lighter particles remain closer to the axis. The centrifuge is of great importance in separating proteins, hormones and viruses from different liquid media (Figure 4.14).
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Figure 4.14 Centrifuge

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