# What is the difference between centripetal force and centripetal acceleration?

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### 1 Answer

**Centripetal**, as the name suggests, means towards center. Centripetal *force* refers to a force that causes a body to move in circular motion. In comparison, *centrifugal *force tries to push a body away from the circular motion. Hence, the **centripetal** *force* acts towards the center, although the centrifugal force acts away from the center.

According to Newton's second law of motion, the force acting on a body can be written as the product of its mass and acceleration. Hence, the **centripetal** *force* provides an * acceleration *(towards the center) to a body and this

*acceleration*is known as the

**centripetal**

*acceleration*.

**Centripetal** *acceleration* can be written in terms of the radius of the circle, r and the angular velocity, w as:

`a = w^2r`

Hence, the **centripetal** *force* can be written as

`F = ma = mw^2r`

Hope this helps.