Centrifugal Force

Experience centrifugal force for yourself with a bicycle wheel gyroscope.
About Centrifugal Force

Getting Started

Have you ever taken a ride on a spinning amusement park ride? Maybe you’ve watched clothes spin in the dryer or seen track and field athletes compete in the hammer throw. All of these demonstrate the impact of centrifugal force.

The power of centrifugal force is used in important scientific applications both on Earth and in space, because they can generate “artificial gravity.” This artificial gravity helps astronauts train for the extreme conditions that they will encounter on the International Space Station!

Centrifugal Force

Experience centrifugal force for yourself by spinning a bicycle wheel gyroscope.


  • Bicycle wheel gyroscope (like this one)
  • Spinning stool
  • Lazy Susan platform (like this one)

Key Concepts

  • Angular Acceleration
  • Rotational Kinematics


  • Sit on the stool and get a friend to hold the bicycle wheel
  • Have your friend spin the bicycle wheel as fast as they can and hand it to you!
  • Gently tilt the wheel to either direction, and see what happens. How does it feel?
  • Bonus: Repeat the same steps while standing on the Lazy Susan platform. Be careful not to fall over!

Learn More

Centrifugal Force at the Boy Scout Jamboree

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