Acceleration vs Average Acceleration
Acceleration is a very important and a fairly basic concept discussed in physics and mechanics. Acceleration and average acceleration are two concepts that are very similar to each other in various ways. However, these two concepts have several differences. It is vital to have a good understanding in the concepts of acceleration and average acceleration in order to excel in fields such as physics, mechanics and any other field that uses these concepts. In this article, we are going to discuss what acceleration and average acceleration are, their applications, the similarities and finally the differences between acceleration and average acceleration.
Acceleration is defined as the rate of change of velocity of a body. It is important to notice that acceleration always requires net force acting on the object. This is described in Newton’s second law of motion. The second law states that the net force F on a body is equal to the rate of change of linear momentum of the body. Since the linear momentum is given by the product of mass and velocity of the body and the mass does not change on a non-relativistic scale, the force is equal to the mass times the rate of change of velocity which is the acceleration. There can be several causes to this force. Electromagnetic force, gravitational force and mechanical force are to name a few. The acceleration due to a mass nearby is known as the gravitational acceleration. It must be noticed that if an object is not subjected to a net force the object will not change the velocity of itself whether it was moving or stationary. Note that the movement of the object does not require a force but the acceleration always does require a force. Acceleration has the dimensions [L] [T]-2. The S.I. unit of acceleration is meters per second per second (ms-2).
Average acceleration is the effective acceleration between two states of a motion. The average acceleration is easily calculable by the ratio of the difference of velocity to the time taken. This can be denoted as a formula by Aavg = (V2-V1)/ (t2-t1) where V2 is the final velocity, V1 is the initial velocity, and t2-t1 is the corresponding time interval between the two velocities. The acceleration of the object can be higher than the average acceleration or lower than it in between the two states. The average force can be derived from the average acceleration (F =ma). The vector direction of average acceleration depends only on the final and initial velocities. Average acceleration has the dimensions [L] [T]-2. The S.I. unit of average acceleration is meters per second per second (ms-2). Average acceleration is easily measurable and is, therefore, widely used in experiments.
What is the difference between Average Acceleration and Acceleration?
• Acceleration is defined as an instantaneous property whereas average acceleration is a property of the motion over a given interval.
• Acceleration depends on the instantaneous net force acting on the object. Average acceleration is dependent on the average net force acting on the system as well as any mass changes within the interval.
• Instantaneous velocity is usually measured by taking the average acceleration between two very close points.