# Physics Lesson 3.7.2 - The meaning of Acceleration

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Welcome to our Physics lesson on The meaning of Acceleration, this is the second lesson of our suite of physics lessons covering the topic of The Meaning of Acceleration. Constant and Non-Constant Acceleration. Gravitational Acceleration, you can find links to the other lessons within this tutorial and access additional physics learning resources below this lesson.

## The meaning of Acceleration

Now, let's use the help of motion maps to analyse situations involving objects that are not moving at the same velocity (and speed). Look at the figure below:

The ball is photographed in equal time intervals during its motion and its positions at each instant are shown above. It is obvious the ball is not moving at the same (constant) velocity as the distance between two consecutive positions of the ball increases while shifting due right. Therefore, we say "the ball is speeding up." In scientific terms, we say "the ball is accelerating." Thus, it is obvious "speeding up" and "accelerating" are similar terms that express the same physical process, i.e. "an increase in distance travelled at equal time intervals" or more precisely, "an increase in velocity at equal time intervals."

From the above discussion, we can formulate the definition of Acceleration as one of the basic Kinematic quantities:

"Acceleration is the rate of velocity change per unit of time."

The term "Rate" means "something changing with time." Therefore, if the change in velocity ∆v = v2 - v1 occurs during a time interval ∆t, we obtain the formula of acceleration a:

a = ∆v/∆t
= v2 - v1/∆t

Since velocity is measured in m/s and time in s, the unit of acceleration is

Unit of acceleration = [ m/s/s ] = [m/s2]

As discussed in the previous tutorials "Speed and Velocity in One Dimension" and "Speed and Velocity in Two and Three Dimensions", velocity is a vector quantity because it involves direction. Therefore, acceleration is a vector quantity as well, as it is obtained by dividing a vector (the change in velocity) by a scalar (the time interval).

You have reach the end of Physics lesson 3.7.2 The meaning of Acceleration. There are 5 lessons in this physics tutorial covering The Meaning of Acceleration. Constant and Non-Constant Acceleration. Gravitational Acceleration, you can access all the lessons from this tutorial below.

## More The Meaning of Acceleration. Constant and Non-Constant Acceleration. Gravitational Acceleration Lessons and Learning Resources

Kinematics Learning Material
Tutorial IDPhysics Tutorial TitleTutorialVideo
Tutorial
Revision
Notes
Revision
Questions
3.7The Meaning of Acceleration. Constant and Non-Constant Acceleration. Gravitational Acceleration
Lesson IDPhysics Lesson TitleLessonVideo
Lesson
3.7.1The meaning of Motion Maps
3.7.2The meaning of Acceleration
3.7.3Constant and non-constant acceleration
3.7.4Average and Instantaneous Acceleration
3.7.5Gravitational acceleration

## Whats next?

Enjoy the "The meaning of Acceleration" physics lesson? People who liked the "The Meaning of Acceleration. Constant and Non-Constant Acceleration. Gravitational Acceleration lesson found the following resources useful:

1. Acceleration Defintion Feedback. Helps other - Leave a rating for this acceleration defintion (see below)
2. Kinematics Physics tutorial: The Meaning of Acceleration. Constant and Non-Constant Acceleration. Gravitational Acceleration. Read the The Meaning of Acceleration. Constant and Non-Constant Acceleration. Gravitational Acceleration physics tutorial and build your physics knowledge of Kinematics
3. Kinematics Revision Notes: The Meaning of Acceleration. Constant and Non-Constant Acceleration. Gravitational Acceleration. Print the notes so you can revise the key points covered in the physics tutorial for The Meaning of Acceleration. Constant and Non-Constant Acceleration. Gravitational Acceleration
4. Kinematics Practice Questions: The Meaning of Acceleration. Constant and Non-Constant Acceleration. Gravitational Acceleration. Test and improve your knowledge of The Meaning of Acceleration. Constant and Non-Constant Acceleration. Gravitational Acceleration with example questins and answers
5. Check your calculations for Kinematics questions with our excellent Kinematics calculators which contain full equations and calculations clearly displayed line by line. See the Kinematics Calculators by iCalculator™ below.
6. Continuing learning kinematics - read our next physics tutorial: Equations of Motion

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