Elements of Motion

Going to school, heading towards the office, or taking a simple walk involves motion. Motion is an integral part of living. We see toys move, hands of the clock rotate, blades of a mixer move to blend the food, and many more examples around us. We can say, each particle of the matter is in constant random motion.

Motion is defined as the change in the position of an object with respect to time. Various terms are associated with motion like speed, velocity, acceleration, rest, uniform motion, angular acceleration, time, displacement, distance, and many more. Dynamics and kinematics are the branches of Physics that mainly deal with the motion of the body. Dynamics involves the study of forces and their effects on motion. Kinematics describes the motion of points, bodies, and systems of bodies without considering the forces that cause them to move. In this article, let us study in brief about acceleration and angular acceleration of the object.

Various Terms of Motion

We know that whenever a change in the position of the object is seen, the object is said to be in motion. Speed is another basic term that describes the distance travelled per unit time. It helps us to understand how fast the body is moving. Speed is a scalar quantity since it does not indicate the direction in which the body travels. When the speed is low, it means the object/body is moving slowly. When the speed is more, it means the object/body is moving fastly. Speed is given by the formula,


Where, s=speed, d=distance travelled and t=time taken.

The rate of change of the position of the object or body with respect to time defines the velocity. Velocity is a vector quantity since it has both magnitude and direction. Now let us understand acceleration, formula, and units.

Acceleration and Angular Acceleration

The rate of change of the velocity of an object with respect to time is known as acceleration. Acceleration is a vector quantity since it has both magnitude and direction. Acceleration is given by the formula,

Where, a=acceleration of the body, Δv is the small change in the velocity and t is the time interval in seconds. The SI unit of acceleration is m/s2.

Some examples of acceleration are:

When a car makes a turn, there is the presence of acceleration since there is a change in position with respect to time. When the car makes a quick turn, we can conclude that acceleration is more. When the car slows down, we can say the acceleration is less.

There are three types of accelerated motions:

  • Uniform acceleration
  • Non-uniform acceleration
  • Average acceleration

Angular Acceleration

The angular acceleration is also known as rotational acceleration since the object is continuously spinning along with a change in speed. Angular acceleration is defined as the time rate of change of angular velocity of the object. It is given by the formula:

It is a pseudoscalar quantity expressed in radians per second per second.

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