Yes, the question makes sense. The force exerted on the passenger when at the bottom of the wheel is equal to his weight PLUS the force required to accelerate him in the circle. If that centripetal force was not present the man would not be accelerating, and he would remain on the ground. From $\displaystyle \sum \vec F = m \vec a$, if we let F_s = the force applied to the man by the seat in the upward direction and mg is the force of gravity acting downward on the man, and we know the man is accelerating in a circular motion with a = v^2/R in the upward direction (towards the center of the Ferris wheel):
$\displaystyle \sum F = F_s - mg = ma$
$\displaystyle F_s = ma + mg = m \frac {v^2} R + mg$
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Last edited by ChipB; Oct 4th 2017 at 07:11 AM.
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