For an object to move along a curved path a force must be applied to it. This force only changes the direction, not the speed of the object and is called a CENTRIPETAL FORCE. Any force on a freely moving object causes an acceleration and a centripetal force causes a CENTRIPETAL ACCELERATION. Note that the direction of the force(and hence the acceleration) is TOWARDS the center of the curve. Centripetal means "center seeking."
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