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Post by msistarted on Fri Feb 04, 2011 6:46 am

In physics, acceleration is the rate of change of velocity over time.[1] In one dimension, acceleration is the rate at which something speeds up or slows down. However, since velocity is a vector, acceleration describes the rate of change of both the magnitude and the direction of velocity.[2][3] Acceleration has the dimensions L T −2. In SI units, acceleration is measured in meters per second per second (m/s2).

Proper acceleration, the acceleration of a body relative to a free-fall condition, is measured by an instrument called an accelerometer.

In common speech, the term acceleration is used for an increase in speed (the magnitude of velocity); a decrease in speed is called deceleration. In physics, a change in the direction of velocity also is an acceleration: for rotary motion, the change in direction of velocity results in centripetal (toward the center) acceleration; where as the rate of change of speed is a tangential acceleration.

In classical mechanics, for a body with constant mass, the acceleration of the body is proportional to the net force acting on it (Newton's second law):

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