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where
(I will provide the other two equations later .)
Everyone is familiar with the acceleration that occurs when a motor vehicle speeds up or slows down. When the vehicle speeds up very rapidly, the positiveacceleration forces us against the back of the seat. (This involves the relationship among force, mass, and acceleration, which will be the subject of afuture module.)
If the vehicle slows down very rapidly or stops suddenly, the negative acceleration may cause us to crash into the windshield, the dashboard, or adeployed airbag.
The accelerator pedal
A common name for the pedal that causes gasoline to be fed to the engine is often called the accelerator pedal because it causes the vehicle to speed up.(However, I have never heard anyone refer to the pedal that causes the vehicle to slow down as the deceleration pedal. Instead, it is commonly called the brakepedal.)
Definitions
Displacement is a change in position.
Velocity is the rate of change of position or the rate of displacement .
Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity .
Jerk is the rate of change of acceleration (not covered in this module).
According to this author , there is no universally accepted name for the rate of change of jerk .
The algebraic sign of acceleration
When the velocity of a moving object increases, that is viewed as positive acceleration. When the velocity of the object decreases, that is viewed asnegative acceleration.
Uniform or variable acceleration
Acceleration may be uniform or variable. It is uniform only if equal changes in velocity occur in equal intervals of time.
A vector quantity
Acceleration has both direction and magnitude. Therefore, acceleration is a vector quantity.
The units for acceleration
The above definition for acceleration leads to some interesting units for acceleration. For example, consider a situation in whichthe velocity of an object changes by 5 feet/second in a one-second time interval. Writing this as an algebraic expression gives us
(5 feet/second)/second
Multiplying the numerator and the denominator of the fraction by 1/second gives us
5 feet/(second*second)
This is often written as
5 feet/second^2
which is pronounced five feet per second squared.
The exercises in the remainder of this module are based on the following two assumptions:
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