The rate of change of velocity of a body per unit of time.

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103
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8answers
24k views

Don't heavier objects actually fall faster because they exert their own gravity?

The common understanding is that, setting air resistance aside, all objects dropped to Earth fall at the same rate. This is often demonstrated through the thought experiment of cutting a large object ...
41
votes
4answers
8k views

If I'm floating in space and I turn on a flashlight, will I accelerate?

Photons have no mass but they can push things, as evidenced by laser propulsion. Can photons push the source which is emitting them? If yes, will a more intense flashlight accelerate me more? Does ...
27
votes
10answers
22k views

Why is acceleration expressed as m/s/s?

I'm a philosophy student (I, regrettably, don't know calculus or much physics). Last year I spent some time learning how work, power, speed, velocity, energy, force, and acceleration relate. But I was ...
24
votes
5answers
8k views

Why do heavier objects fall faster in air?

We all know that in an idealised world all objects accelerate at the same rate when dropped regardless of their mass. We also know that in reality (or more accurately, in air) a lead feather falls ...
15
votes
5answers
5k views

How fast would someone have to run to travel vertically up a wall?

I am currently doing a physics project on the effects of so-called 'super-speed'. I was wondering how fast you would have to run to vertically travel up a wall? That is, to negate the force of ...
15
votes
5answers
3k views

Zero velocity, zero acceleration?

In one dimension, the acceleration of a particle can be written as: $$a = \frac{dv}{dt} = \frac{dv}{dx} \frac{dx}{dt} = v \frac{dv}{dx}$$ Does this equation imply that if: $$v = 0$$ Then, ...
15
votes
7answers
796 views

Is there a limit to acceleration?

As we all know the speed of light is the limit at which energy/matter can travel through our universe. My question being: is there a similar limit for acceleration? Is there a limit to how quickly ...
14
votes
7answers
6k views

Would it help if you jump inside a free falling elevator?

Imagine you're trapped inside a free falling elevator. Would you decrease your impact impulse by jumping during the fall? When?
14
votes
1answer
1k views

What came first, Rice Crispy or “Snap,” “Crackle,” and “Pop”? [closed]

The fourth, fifth, and sixth derivatives of position are called "Snap" "Crackle" and "Pop". What came first, the rice crispy characters, or the physics units?
14
votes
2answers
410 views

Do accelerated charges radiate or not?

This questions has been asked all over the net (here included) but I can't find a satisfactory answer or discussion. Some say it does not radiate if the acceleration is caused by a uniform gravity ...
13
votes
5answers
4k views

Acceleration in special relativity

I am currently studying the motion of relativistic charged particles in electromagnetic fields. More exactly, we first derived the equation of motion in the 4-vector formalism. I was a bit confused ...
13
votes
4answers
545 views

Is there an easy way to show that $x^2-t^2=1/g^2$ for a (relativistic) body undergoing acceleration g?

A professor asked me about the (c=1) equation: $$x^2 - t^2 = 1/g^2$$ which I used in a paper. Or with $c$: $$x^2 - (ct)^2 = c^4/g^2.$$ I told him that it was the exact equation of motion for a ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

How does anything move? [duplicate]

So in order for two things $A$ and $B$ to move apart, for example, relative to each other, $B$ can be set into motion away from $A$. This means that we have to increase $B$'s velocity and therefore ...
11
votes
1answer
927 views

How do I calculate the (apparent) gravitational pull with General Relativity?

Assume a static metric with (known) components $g_{\mu\nu}$. I'd like to know what is the gravitational pull $g$ of a test particle placed on an arbitrary point $X$. The gravitational pull being ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

How do I calculate the distance a ship will take to stop?

I am a River Pilot and drive ships for a living. These ships are very large and range up to 160,000 Metric Tons. I am trying to figure out how to calculate the distance to stopping. I have a basic ...
10
votes
5answers
464 views

What is the best path for a given initial and final state?

I am trying to calculate an efficient acceleration curve given starting and final positions and velocities. I'm assuming no friction, and that the acceleration can be applied in any direction at any ...
10
votes
4answers
6k views

Acceleration of two falling objects with identical form and air drag but different masses

I have a theoretical question that has been bugging me and my peers for weeks now - and we have yet to settle on a concrete answer. Imagine two balloons, one is filled with air, one with concrete. ...
10
votes
2answers
541 views

Is acceleration an average?

Background I'm new to physics and math. I stopped studying both of them in high-school, and I wish I hadn't. I'm pursuing study in both topics for personal interest. Today, I'm learning about ...
10
votes
1answer
315 views

The most stable way of standing in a bus

Here's what's bugging me for quite a long time. Imagine the every day situation, that you are standing in a bus with your back on wall having only limited space on the floor and no handle to hold. You ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

Relativistic centripetal force

The thought randomly occurred to me that a circular particle accelerator would have to exert a lot of force in order to maintain the curvature of the trajectory. Many accelerators move particles at ...
9
votes
3answers
615 views

How do we explain accelerated motion in Newtonian physics and in modern physics?

Maybe my question will seem stupid, but I am not a physicist so I have some problems understanding a classic Newtonian experiment: in the bucket experiment, why does he have to introduce the absolute ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Non-Constant Acceleration due to Gravity

Recently, I had the first physics lab for my university physics course. This lab was fairly simple, as we were merely using a computer and a distance sensor to graph the position, velocity, and ...
8
votes
3answers
443 views

Whether $m$ in $E=mc^{2}$ and $F=ma$ are both relativistic mass?

I know that $m$ in $E=mc^{2}$ is the relativistic mass, but can $m$ in $F=ma$ can also be relativistic? If the answer is yes, then can you tell me whether this equation is valid $E=\frac{F}{a}c^{2}$? ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Is acceleration relative?

A while back in my Dynamics & Relativity lectures my lecturer mentioned that an object need not be accelerating relative to anything - he said it makes sense for an object to just be accelerating. ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Slinky base does not immediately fall due to gravity

Why does the base of this slinky not fall immediately to gravity? My guess is tension in the springs is a force > mass*gravity but even then it is dumbfounding.
8
votes
1answer
364 views

Does a ball resting on the ground have acceleration?

Does a ball resting on the Earth's ground have acceleration caused by gravity?
8
votes
3answers
145 views

How to describe arbitrary accelerations in special relativity

Describing acceleration in special relativity is in principle straightforward, and for simple cases the resulting transformations are simple. Examples include circular motion and constant acceleration ...
8
votes
2answers
270 views

What is the physical meaning of $|f''(\xi )|\leq\frac{4(f(b)-f(a))}{(b-a)^{2}}$ where $f(t)$ is position as a function of time?

Here is the full problem: I was able to prove the given expression; but the interpretation part is giving me a bit of trouble. Here is my interpretation: The average acceleration in $(a,b)$, is ...
8
votes
1answer
189 views

Why does acceleration seem not to be the gradient of gravitational potential?

Consider a spherically symmetric distribution of density $\rho(r)$. We can define the mass enclosed within each radius $r$ using $\frac{dM(r)}{dr} = 4\pi r^2 \rho(r)$, with the condition that $M(r=0) ...
7
votes
8answers
502 views

How do we know that $F = ma$, not $F = k \cdot ma$

It seems intuitive that $a\; \propto \frac{F}{m}$, as the greater the force that is applied on an object, the greater its acceleration will be. Inversely, the greater the mass of the object, the ...
7
votes
5answers
21k views

How to get distance when acceleration is not constant?

I have a background in calculus but don't really know anything about physics. Forgive me if this is a really basic question. The equation for distance of an accelerating object with constant ...
7
votes
3answers
679 views

Dark Energy / Accelerating universe: naive question

Folks, I have a naive question regarding the subject of dark energy and an accelerating universe: From what I understand/read, it seems that the further we look out into deep space, the faster the ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Integrating radial free fall in Newtonian gravity

I thought this would be a simple question, but I'm having trouble figuring it out. Not a homework assignment btw. I am a physics student and am just genuinely interested in physics problems involving ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Does velocity or acceleration cause time dilation?

What causes time dilation? Acceleration or velocity? I've seen multiple comments on this forum that assert velocity is the cause, but that doesn't seem right to me. You can't have velocity without ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

In mechanics, is shock really better expressed as jerk instead of acceleration?

Some expensive electronics or mechanical devices are designed to be shock-resistant. However, the manufacturers often market the level of shock-resistance in units of g-force (I know g-force is really ...
7
votes
1answer
353 views

How did Newton find out force has something to do with acceleration?

Its about Newton's second law of motion, $$F=ma.$$ It says the acceleration of an object is directly proportional to the net force and is inversely proportional to the object's mass. Yes I can ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Should acceleration be included in state vector of a Kalman filter?

I'm developing (actually adopting existing solution) a Kalman filter to model motion of a vehicle (UAV or automobile). The state vector will include position, velocity, and, possibly, acceleration. ...
7
votes
4answers
355 views

Are smaller soap bubbles more accelerated by wind?

If you blow a bunch of soap bubbles outside, and a gust of wind hits them, will the bigger ones be more or less accelerated by the wind than the smaller ones? Intuitively, and maybe from remembered ...
6
votes
5answers
15k views

Why do two bodies of different masses fall at the same rate (in the absence of air resistance)?

I'm far from being a physics expert and figured this would be a good place to ask a beginner question that has been confusing me for some time. According to Galileo, two bodies of different masses, ...
6
votes
8answers
3k views

Can you completely explain acceleration to me?

I understand what acceleration is, and I know the formula, and I understand it's a vector. I just don't understand how the equation works exactly. I'm kind of picky, I know, but bear with me. ...
6
votes
5answers
7k views

If an object moved 5 meters in a second, how can its velocity be 10 m/s?

I am reading the tutorial on physics classroom.com, and am at Meaning of Slope for a v-t graph. It gives data for an object experiencing an acceleration: This is the corresponding chart for the ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

How to brake 'beautifully'?

Sometimes when I'm driving my car, I play a "game" against myself in which I try to minimize the deceleration felt by passengers (including myself) while still braking in a reasonable short space. I ...
6
votes
8answers
1k views

Reactionless Drives

According to the third law of motion, you van't have an mass move in a particular direction unless there is a proportional opposite mass/acceleration ratio in the opposite direction. No-one has been ...
6
votes
5answers
346 views

Acceleration in $F=ma$

I tried to ask this question in Electrical Engineering Stackexchange but was told I was better asking here. Newton's Second Law of Motion states that the vector sum of the forces $\mathbf{F}$ on an ...
6
votes
3answers
197 views

Movement in outer space via Newton's law of every action has an equal and opposite reaction

What is more effective for travel in outer space ignoring all other factors like air radiation etc. I have a 10 kg bag of rice would I travel faster throwing the whole bag at once or throwing a grain ...
6
votes
2answers
134 views

At Interfaces Does Light Have to Accelerate?

First, I'm not sure if photons have to "get up to" the speed of light, or if they are thrown into existence at that speed. I know that they should just be generated moving at their speed, and I know ...
6
votes
2answers
314 views

Nonuniform acceleration due to rubber rope

What I want: I have a rubber rope which is $5m$ in length when not stressed and is able to stretch about $100\%$ (to $10m$ long). I want to accelerate a constant mass horizontally, which has ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do we weigh less when falling?

I don't want to go to science world to find out because it would be a long round-trip. I understand that acceleration/deceleration would effect the weight and I can also imagine that someone at ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

The acceleration vector of a simple pendulum

In this picture the acceleration vector $\vec{a}$ points upward when the pendulum is halfway Click To see animated GIF But according to this picture, the force acts tangentially: Which means the ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Why doesn't an electron accelerate in a circuit?

Why don't electrons accelerate when a voltage is applied between two points in in a circuit? All the textbooks I've referred conveyed the meaning that when an electron traveled from negative potential ...