Trending Articles

Blog Post

Angular Acceleration – What is it?

Angular Acceleration – What is it?


Angular acceleration, aka rotational acceleration, is a quantifiable expression of the variation in angular speed for each unit of time. It constitutes a vector quantity comprising a spanning segment and two distinct directions or components.

Main Points of Angular Acceleration:

  • Expressed in radians per second squared (rad/s²): Similar to how linear acceleration is quantifiable in meters per second squared (m/s²), this quantifiable expression retains its specific unit of measurement.
  • Related to angular velocity: The relationship between AA and velocity (ω) is the same as linear acceleration and linear velocity (v). Moreover, one can express this with the equation α = ω/t, where ω stands as the change in angular velocity, and t stands as the corresponding change in time.
  • Vector quantity: Contrary to its counterpart, scalar (linear acceleration), angular acceleration is a vector quantity. Such implies it holds size and direction, with the direction indicating the axis along which the rotation is either accelerating or decelerating.

Applications of Angular Acceleration:

Angular acceleration plays a decisive role in numerous fields, including:

  1. Mechanics: Here, it understands the motion of machinery, celestial bodies, and, in addition, figure skating movements.
  2. Engineering: In engineering, this expression of the variation use extends to designing and analyzing the functions of rotating machines like turbines and gyroscopes.
  3. Physics: In physics, its uses extend to examining the dynamics of particles and systems in rotational motion.

Examples of Angular Acceleration:

  1. Spinning Wheel: Imagine a wheel rotating with a persistent angular velocity. The wheel either speeds up or slows down upon applying an external torque. Therefore, it forms the quantifiable expression.
  2. Performing Gymnast: Visualize a gymnast performing a somersault or a twist in mid-air, due to which their body’s orientation and angular velocity changes. Subsequently, the gymnast experiences this velocity variation upon changing the dynamics of their body through a tuck or extension. As a result, altering the rate at which they rotate.
  3. A Turning Car: Upon executing a turn, a car undergoes angular acceleration. When the driver turns the car, the direction of the car’s angular velocity changes. If a car initially moves in a straight line and then turns left or right, it experiences this speed variation as it changes its rotational motion.


In conclusion, angular acceleration is a fundamental concept in rotational dynamics and describes the rate at which the angular velocity of an object varies with time. Furthermore, it is a vector quantity measurable in radians per second squared (rad/s²).

It is fundamental in many physical scenarios, from the motion of wheels and rotating machines to the movements of athletes and vehicles.

Understanding this variation in speed is essential for analyzing and predicting the behavior of rotating objects. Hence, it provides valuable insights into the dynamics of rotational motion in everyday activities and complex mechanical systems.

Related posts