# Circular Motion: Understanding the Direction of Velocity

## What is the direction of the velocity of the ball swinging in a horizontal circle on a level lab table?

1) Upward

2) Downward

3) Towards the center of the circle

4) Away from the center of the circle

## Answer:

The direction of the velocity of the ball swinging in a horizontal circle on a level lab table is always tangent to the circle at the ball's position.

**Explanation:** In circular motion, the direction of the velocity of the ball is always tangent to the path of the motion, in other words, it is always in the direction that is perpendicular to the radius at that point. Therefore, in this scenario where the ball is swinging in a horizontal circle on a level lab table, the direction of the velocity is neither upward, downward, or towards or away from the center. It's actually continuously changing, but always tangent to the circle at the ball's current position.

Velocity is a vector quantity, meaning it has both magnitude (the speed) and direction. In the case of an object moving in a circle (called circular motion), even if the speed (the magnitude of the velocity) is constant, the velocity is continually changing its direction. Thus, the velocity vector always points along the tangent to the circular path of the object.

Understanding the concept of circular motion and the direction of velocity is essential for grasping the dynamics of objects in motion. By realizing that the velocity of an object in circular motion is always perpendicular to the radius of the circle at a given point, we can appreciate the complex but fascinating nature of motion in physics.