Motion on a Curve
Radius of the circle 10 m
Tangential speed m/s
Banking angle °
Coefficient of static friction
Mass of object kg
Gravitational field N/kg
  1. Wait until Java finishes loading before clicking on anything. If your screen resolution is 640x480, open your browser to full screen view in order to see the action buttons.
  2. Click on Initialize/Reset. 
  3. On the left-hand side of the applet window is an overhead view of an object moving in a circle at constant speed.  In the center is a side view of the forces acting on the object.  Static friction provides the centripetal force needed to keep the object on the curve.  The fric-o-meter on the right gauges the ratio of the static friction needed to the maximum available, the latter being determined by the product of the coefficient of static friction and the normal force.  This ratio must be less than or equal to 1 for the object to stay on the curve.
  4. Click on the Speed Punch to increase the tangential speed by 1 m/s.  Note how the forces change.
  5. Punch the speed a few more times, watching the fric-o-meter as you do. When the meter goes red, the object is going too fast to navigate the curve. (Note: You won't see the object leave the curve, because the applet simply calculates the amount of frictional force needed and applies that amount. You have to watch the fric-o-meter to see if enough friction is available.)
  6. Now calculate the maximum speed at which the object can stay on the curve.  Enter that speed and check your result.