Acceleration is an important concept in physics and is used to define motion. Acceleration is defined as the rate of change in velocity which implies that an object is said to be accelerating when the velocity of the object is increasing or decreasing. Acceleration has both magnitude and direction which make it a vector quantity. The magnitude of the acceleration of an object is the combination of two factors net resulting force and the mass of the object, as per Newton’s Second Law of Motion. Let us understand in detail more about acceleration, its units, types, and graphs.
Acceleration is defined as the rate of change of velocity of an object concerning time. When the velocity of an object is changing, it is said to be accelerating.
Acceleration can also be defined as the rate of change in velocity and the change over time. Acceleration can be positive, negative, or zero.
The change in the velocity of an object in motion is defined as “v-u” where v is the final velocity and u is the initial velocity. Therefore, the acceleration of an object with initial velocity ‘u’ and final velocity ‘v’ and time took ‘t’ is
Acceleration = Change in Velocity /Time taken
Which gives the formula
a = (
Acceleration is a vector quantity as it has both magnitude and direction. It is denoted by a. The unit of acceleration is meters per second squared which is m/s^{2}. The dimensional formula of acceleration is [M^{0} L^{1} T^{-2}].
There are different types of Acceleration, namely uniform, non-uniform, average, and instantaneous, acceleration.
When the velocity of an object changes in equal amounts during the same time intervals, then the object is said to be in uniform acceleration. During uniform acceleration, the direction and the magnitude do not change with time.
Example: motion of a car with constant velocity or a ball rolling down a slope.
Non-uniform acceleration is also known as variable acceleration. In variable acceleration the velocity of the object changes by varying amounts during the same time interval. During non-uniform acceleration, the magnitude and direction both change with time.
Example: A car changes its speed after every kilometer it travels.
When the object changes its velocity for a particular specified time interval it is said to have average acceleration. The formula for calculating the average acceleration is given below.
A_{v} =∆v/∆t or a_{v} = (v_{f}-v_{i}) / (t_{f }-t_{i})
Here, v_{f} is the final velocity
v_{i} is the initial velocity
t_{i} is the initial time
t_{f} is the final time
Instantaneous acceleration is defined as the ratio of change in velocity during a given time interval such that the time interval goes to zero. To calculate the instantaneous acceleration, the average velocity can be calculated between two points in time separated by ∆t and ∆t approaches zero. The result obtained is the derivation of the velocity function v(t) which is the instantaneous acceleration, which when mathematically written gives
a(t) = v(t)
The curves indicate the velocity-time graph, where time is plotted along the x-axis, and velocity is plotted along the y-axis.
Criteria | Definition | Formula | Unit |
Acceleration | Acceleration is defined as the change in the velocity of an object concerning time. | Velocity / Time | m.s^{-2} |
Velocity | Velocity is defined as the speed of an object in a particular direction. | Displacement/Time | m.s^{-1} |
1.If a car accelerates from 5 m/s to 10 m/s in the 20s. Calculate its acceleration.
Ans. Given,
Initial Velocity, u = 5 m/s
Final Velocity, v = 10 m/s
Time Taken, t = 20 s
Acceleration, a= (v-u)/t
= (10m/s – 5m/s) / 20
= 0.25 m/s^{2}
Ans. Given,
Initial Velocity, u = 90 m/s or 90 x = 25 m/s
Final Velocity, v = 72 m/s or 72 x = 20 m/s
Time Taken, t = 20 s
Acceleration, a= (v-u)/t
= (20m/s – 25m/s) / 20
= -0.25 m/s^{2}
Given,
Initial Velocity, u = 0 m/s (car is in rest)
Time Taken, t = 10 s
Acceleration, a= 8.2 m/s^{2}
v = u + at
= 0 + 8.2 x 10
= 82 m/s
Ans. The average acceleration over time ka is defined as the total change in velocity in given intervals of time divided by the total time taken for the change.
Ans. The acceleration due to gravity is defined as the acceleration experienced by the earth’s gravitational pull.
Ans. Centripetal Acceleration is defined as the acceleration points toward the center of the curvature since the velocity is continuously changing and acceleration is present.
Ans. Acceleration is directly proportional to the force applied to an object with constant mass.
Ans. Acceleration is a vector quantity because it is related to both magnitude and direction.
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