Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Centripetal Accelerations on a Turntable

Figure from experiment 20 from Physics with Vernier


As a child, you may remember the challenge of spinning a playground merry-go-round so you could scare the unfortunate riders as they traveled around a circular path. You worked especially hard to push the merry-go-round to increase its angular velocity. As the angular velocity of the riders increased, so did their centripetal acceleration. The challenge for the riders was to compete with the centripetal acceleration to maintain their grip—and their stomachs. The faster the merry-go-round was spun, the more difficult it became to stay on the ride. It may have disappointed you when the riders cheated and moved toward the center of the merry-go-round to reduce the acceleration. In this activity, you will investigate centripetal acceleration on a turntable. You will use a Low-g Accelerometer or Wireless Dynamics Sensor System (WDSS) attached to the turntable to determine the relationship between centripetal acceleration, angular velocity, and the radius of the circular path.


  • Measure centripetal acceleration on a record turntable.
  • Determine the relationship between centripetal acceleration, radius, and angular velocity.
  • Determine the direction of centripetal acceleration.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Standards Correlations

See all standards correlations for Physics with Vernier »

Physics with Vernier

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Graph Matching
2ABack and Forth Motion
2BBack and Forth Motion
3ACart on a Ramp
3BCart on a Ramp
4ADetermining g on an Incline
4BDetermining g on an Incline
5Picket Fence Free Fall
6Ball Toss
7Bungee Jump Accelerations
8AProjectile Motion (Photogates)
8BProjectile Motion (Projectile Launcher)
9Newton's Second Law
10Atwood's Machine
11Newton's Third Law
12Static and Kinetic Friction
13Air Resistance
14Pendulum Periods
15Simple Harmonic Motion
16Energy of a Tossed Ball
17Energy in Simple Harmonic Motion
18AMomentum, Energy and Collisions
18BMomentum, Energy and Collisions
19AImpulse and Momentum
19BImpulse and Momentum
20Centripetal Accelerations on a Turntable
21Accelerations in the Real World
22Ohm's Law
23Series and Parallel Circuits
25The Magnetic Field in a Coil
26The Magnetic Field in a Slinky
27Electrical Energy
28APolarization of Light
28BPolarization of Light (Rotary Motion Sensor)
29Light, Brightness and Distance
30Newton's Law of Cooling
31The Magnetic Field of a Permanent Magnet
32Sound Waves and Beats
33Speed of Sound
34Tones, Vowels and Telephones
35Mathematics of Music

Experiment 20 from Physics with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Physics with Vernier</i> book cover

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