Physics Formulas

Acceleration Formula

We have discussed speed and velocity, now we are going to discuss acceleration. First of all, we are going to define what an acceleration often used in physics is and then we are going to discuss the acceleration formula.

Definition of acceleration

Acceleration is an expression of the change in the velocity of an object. Since the velocity has two component; speed and direction, the change can be in speed, direction or both speed and direction. Since the acceleration is defined as the change in velocity, the acceleration is a vector quantity (as opposed to a scalar quantity) meaning acceleration is directional.

Acceleration definition

Finding acceleration

Suppose you have a car that goes from 0 miles per hour to 60 miles per hour in 5 seconds. In standard unit, the speed 60 miles per hour is approximately 26.8 meter per second. Suppose also that the acceleration is constant going from 0 m/s to 26.8 m/s in one direction.

Acceleration formula

Then the acceleration is the change in speed or 5.36 m/s 2.

Acceleration formulas

Notice that the unit for acceleration is meter per second squared because the acceleration is the rate of change in velocity. That's it. This is the easy way to calculate acceleration - just measure the change in velocity and divide that by the time taken to change the velocity.