# Questions tagged [acceleration]

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

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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### Why does a free-falling body experience no force despite accelerating?

Note: For the purposes of my question, when I refer to free fall assume it takes place in a vacuum. From my (admittedly weak) understanding of the equivalence principle, falling in a gravitational ...
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### 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 ...
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### Is acceleration due to gravity constant?

I was taught in school that acceleration due to gravity is constant. But recently, when I checked Physics textbook, I noted that $$F = \dfrac{G m_1 m_2}{r^2}.$$ So, as the body falls down, $r$ ...
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### 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?
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### Why doesn't gravity speed up light?

We know that gravity speeds up a body; for instance, a meteor which enters the earth gets constantly accelerated up by earth's gravity. And from relativity we know that light bends near a massive body,...
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### How can an object's instantaneous speed be zero and it's instantaneous acceleration be nonzero?

I'm studying for my upcoming physics course and ran across this concept - I'd love an explanation.
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### Integrating radial free fall in Newtonian gravity [duplicate]

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 ...
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### Is there a maximum possible acceleration? [closed]

I'm thinking equivalence principle, possibilities of unbounded space-time curvature, quantum gravity.
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### Why acceleration comes to be different when using $F=ma$ and when using $\tau = I \alpha$?

Consider a Disc of mass $M$ and radius $R$, I applied force $F$ tangentially on it. Now using $F=Ma$ , acceleration comes up to $$a=F/M$$ Now, let's use the torque equation: Here, the moment of ...
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### Are velocity and acceleration smooth quantities?

My thinking: acceleration corresponds to a force which is instantaneous, so the acceleration of a rigid body can be rather spiky (non-smooth) velocity (angular velocity) describes the ratio of ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### Force as change in momentum vs. change in velocity

Is there ever a situation where the distinction between $F = m \frac{dv}{dt}$ and $F = \frac{dp}{dt}$ is important? I can't think of a situation where one is true and not the other (assuming only ...
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### Why is $F=ma$? Is there a straightforward reason?

Why is force = mass $\times$ acceleration? I have searched in many sites but didn't actually get at it. Simply I want to know that if a mass in space moves (gains velocity thus further accelerates), ...
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### 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. ...
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### The two causes for the factor 2 in Coriolis effect

While reading this document on Coriolis effect http://empslocal.ex.ac.uk/people/staff/gv219/classics.d/Persson98.pdf, I saw the followig sentence Two kinematic effects each contribute half of the ...
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### Calculating gravity when taking into account the change of gravitational force

This is a problem that has bothered me for a couple of weeks now, and I can't seem to wrap my head around it and understand it. Let's say we have a planet with a mass of $m$. We also have an object of ...
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### Which clock is the fastest inside an accelerating body?

The picture shows an accelerating spaceship with two clocks inside it. It is so far away from all other bodys that gravity is of no importance. Will the bottommost clock be slower than the topmost ...
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### Physical intuition for higher order derivatives

Could somebody give me an intuitive physical interpretation of higher order derivatives (from 2 and so on), that is not related to position - velocity - acceleration - jerk - etc?
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### Tangential acceleration in circular motion?

A lot of my problems have objects moving in circular paths with tangential and normal components of acceleration. If the tangential component is non-zero though, the speed is changing so the radius ...
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### 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.
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### A simple derivation of the Centripetal Acceleration Formula?

Could someone show me a simple and intuitive derivation of the Centripetal Acceleration Formula $a=v^2/r$, preferably one that does not involve calculus or advanced trigonometry?
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### Why do accelerating electrons emit radiation?

I know how you can emit light with an alternating current, running back and forth, creating an electric field in addition to the magnetic field. But why does an electron emit light when it gets ...
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### Is acceleration an absolute quantity?

I would like to know if acceleration is an absolute quantity, and if so why?
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It has come to the point in my computing program now where I have 5 swinging pendulums that are all modified at once by slider values. These values are drawn onto the from and passed through the class ...
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### Why normal acceleration doesn't bring a change in speed?

Suppose There's a particle of mass m moving with speed $v_{0}$, at certain moment a force starts acting on it (centripetal force) and it start uniform circular motion Now every other reference states ...
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### Can an object *immediately* start moving at a high velocity?

What I mean is, suppose a ball is fired from a cannon. Suppose the ball is moving at 100 m/s in the first second. Would the ball have started from 1m/s to 2m/s and gradually arrived at 100m/s? And is ...
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### Does an accelerating electric dipole radiate?

For such a simple question I'm finding it remarkably hard to get a definitive answer. Googling has not helped me. Consider an ideal electric dipole that is constant i.e. neither its magnitude nor ...
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### 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 ...
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### Does force cause acceleration or acceleration cause force?

I am currently studying advanced mechanics (meaning I do have an introduction in mechanics). I know the question is a bit weird (actually a lot). My question is: "Is it the acceleration which ...
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### 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 ...
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### Is there a scalar acceleration?

The magnitude of Velocity is simply Speed. On the other hand, the magnitude of Displacement seems to be a simpler idea than Distance. And the magnitude of Acceleration is not the change of Speed over ...
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### Type of force of $m\vec{a}$

As there are types of forces such as Normal, Tensional, Gravitational, etc. Suppose a block of mass $m$ kept on a table and a man is pushing it and a acceleration $\vec{a}$ is produced. Is $m\vec{a}$ ...
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### Classical car collision [duplicate]

I have a very confusing discussion with a friend of mine. 2 cars ($car_a$ and $car_b$) of the same mass $m$ are on a collision course. Both cars travel at $50_\frac{km}{h}$ towards each other. They ...
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### How is the energy loss by an accelerating charge expressed in the equations of motion?

I understand how, and why, an accelerating charge emits radiation, and loses energy in the process, as well as the Larmor formula for the power, and its derivation. However, in classical mechanics, ...
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### Why doesn't the Earth accelerate towards us?

According to Newton's third law of motion that states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So, if the Earth exerts a gravitational pull on us (people) then even we should exert a ...
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