Does acceleration create gravity since inertial mass is found to be the same as gravitational mass?

If not what would account for acceleration behaving like gravity and vise versa?


You are correct, and this is the equivalence principle. As per GR, the inertial and gravitational mass are equivalent.

In the theory of general relativity, the equivalence principle is the equivalence of gravitational and inertial mass, and Albert Einstein's observation that the gravitational "force" as experienced locally while standing on a massive body (such as the Earth) is the same as the pseudo-force experienced by an observer in a non-inertial (accelerated) frame of reference.


Now you are asking whether acceleration can create gravity. It can create the effects of gravity, like GR time dilation.

Gravitational time dilation is a form of time dilation, an actual difference of elapsed time between two events as measured by observers situated at varying distances from a gravitating mass. The lower the gravitational potential (the closer the clock is from the source of gravitation), the slower time passes, speeding up as the gravitational potential increases (the clock getting away from the source of gravitation). Albert Einstein originally predicted this effect in his theory of relativity and it has since been confirmed by tests of general relativity.[1]


A very good example is the GR explanation of the twin paradox, where the traveling twin is turning around with the spaceship and at the turn, the acceleration/deceleration is equivalent to a gravitational zone, where the traveling twin's time slows down. Thus, the twin ages slower (during the turn), so when they meet the traveling twin aged less.

The answer is that acceleration is required to resolve the twin paradox and the two observers are not both in inertial frames. It is a fundamental principle of general relativity that acceleration and gravity cannot be distinguished.

Twin paradox caused by gravitational difference in space

| cite | improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.