Difference between velocity and acceleration
Velocity vs Acceleration:
Although in day to day life, velocity and acceleration may seem similar, velocity and acceleration are two closely related yet distinctly different concepts described in Physics. Acceleration is a term found not only in Physics, but also in day to day usual activities. That’s right. To provide one instance, the word acceleration is highly used in the activity of driving. Though some might still get confused in distinguishing between the two terms, the Physicists obviously define them as two divergent notions with some similarities, of course. Just to begin with, both velocity and acceleration relate to motion. However, this article intend to get to the attention of those who are striving to distinguish between the two so that they will comprehend what is meant by acceleration and velocity in simpler and comprehensible terms.
What is velocity?
What is defined by velocity would simply be the rate at which a particular object moves from one position to another. It is not just the distance of a particular object moves but it is always measured with the displacement of the movement of the object, in addition the pace of the movement of the object. Thus, velocity describes both how fast an object is moving and to what direction it moves. Velocity is generally considered a vector quantity as direction is embedded in it. Further, velocity could be constant of an object which is moving with steady speed constantly to the same direction. Characteristically, an object which is moving in a straight path has a constant velocity. In Physics, velocity is marked by ‘v’ and is calculated by the following formula:
v ̅= ∆d/∆t
∆d: Displacement ∆t: time interval
Velocity is measured by measurements such as meter per second, mile per hour, kilometer per hour, etc., only with an additional direction which is added at the end. For example, to describe a velocity of a car which is moving 50 kilometers per hour, it should be like ’50 kilometers per hour TO SOUTH’. A direction is always to be included.
What is acceleration?
Now, let’s try to understand what acceleration means. It is defined as the rate of change of the velocity of an element in motion. What is that can’t be kept aside when talking about the phenomena of acceleration is that it always requires some force acting on the subject that moves. Let’s take a very simple example to elaborate this. In order to move a vehicle forward, you need one foot of yours on the acceleration pedal. To increase the speed of the vehicle, or simply to accelerate it, you need to put a substantial amount of force on the pedal you need to push it down with your foot. That means you are applying a net force. Acceleration is what is described in Newton’s second law of motion. It states that the net force F on a body is equal to the rate of change of linear momentum of the body. There can be a number of reasons to this string of force and some of those would be electromagnetic force, gravitational force and mechanical force. To conclude, it can be also noted that without some external force, the velocity of a moving object does not change and it stays still.
What is the difference between speed and velocity?
Although velocity and acceleration bear similar features such as they both relates to objects in motion and that both terms describe movement, they do have several distinctive dissimilarities. The first and the most significant of them would be the force. Velocity is all about movement in stable or constant speed while acceleration describes movement applied on a moving object by some external force. In other words, while velocity does not require any external force acceleration always require a net force on the object. There would be no acceleration of an object unless some amount of force is enforced to the subject in motion. Another distinctive difference would be that while not every object with velocity has acceleration on them, but, every object with acceleration has a velocity. That is to say, acceleration is enforced on objects that already have velocity. Moreover, in everyday life, these two terms are sometimes used interchangeably and in most of the time, the term acceleration is used properly to describe the fastness of some kind of object while the term velocity is used to describe an object’s movement towards a direction. People sometimes tend to use the term velocity instead of the term acceleration to mean the same thing not paying due attention to their distinction. It should be strictly kept in mind that velocity is not a ‘bigger’ word for acceleration.