lectures09-page132 - 132 So we see that, with our...

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132 So we see that, with our definition of acceleration as the rate of change of velocity, which is a vector, a body moving at a steady speed around a circle is accelerating towards the center all the time, although it never gets any closer to it. If this thought makes you uncomfortable, it is because you are still thinking that acceleration must mean a change of speed, and just changing direction doesn’t count. 20.4 Finding the Acceleration in Circular Motion It is possible to find an explicit expression for the magnitude of the acceleration towards the center (sometimes called the centripetal acceleration) for a body moving on a circular path at speed v . Look again at the diagram above showing two values of the velocity of the cannonball one second apart. As is explained above, the magnitude a of the acceleration is the length of the small dashed vector on the right, where the other two sides of this long narrow triangle have lengths equal to the speed v of the cannonball.
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This note was uploaded on 01/08/2012 for the course PHY 322 taught by Professor Daser during the Spring '09 term at SUNY Stony Brook.

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