Pressure in Centripetal Apparatus
Country: United States
Date: October 2006
Centripetal pressure. I am interested in the
pressure developed while spinning water in a container. From what I read
objects spinning at thousands of revolutions per minute yield very high
psi levels. This is what I am after. If I take about 8 ounces of water
and spin it in a 6 inch diameter container at 10,000 rpm, what psi would
Let us say a pipe was attached to the edge of the container. How
much pressure would be in the pipe? What would it take to get 100 psi?
More rpms, diameter, water?
I think you are confused with regards to the difference
between force and pressure. Force is the result of an
acceleration (such as the acceleration due to gravity, or the
acceleration of a rocket) acting on a mass. Pressure, on the
other hand, is the result of a force acting on a unit area,
thus the units of PSI, or pounds (of force) per square inch
(of area). The same amount of force will produce different
amounts of pressure, depending on how much area the force is
There is no such thing as centripetal pressure. Objects
spinning at high RPM do NOT develop "high psi levels", or any
pressure at all. They experience high force. In other words,
the object being spun is forced outward as if it weighed much
more than its normal weight. The formula for the force
developed when an object is spun, is....
Centripetal Force = Mass x Velocity (squared) x Radius.
MASS is the mass of the object being spun
VELOCITY is the speed of the object as it is spinning
RADIUS is the radial distance from the axis center to the
Pressure is force per unit area, and in the above formula,
you will notice that there is no mention at all of area.
Therefore, trying to determine "pressure" is meaningless.
In your example, the 8 ounces of water, when spun at high RPM
will be forced outward and appear to "weigh" much more than
it does at rest. This effect is used when training
astronauts. They are placed in a seat that is hinged at the
top, and connected to the end of a long arm that is spun at
high speed. As the rotational speed increases, the astronaut
feels heavier and heavier, and experiences the same effect as
the increase in weight felt when a rocket accelerates. The
astronaut does not feel pressure. He simply feels that he
weighs much more then normal; that is, his body is pressed
against his seat with increasing force.
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