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The mechanical principals of movement

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Matt Arnold

The mechanical principals of movement

Acceleration is a vector (‘Vectors are quantities which are fully described by both a magnitude and a direction.’ (Tom Henderson, 1996) quantity, which is defined as ‘the rate at which an object changes its velocity.’ (Tom Henderson, 1996) An object is accelerating if it is changing its velocity. It is calculated in this equation

A = (vf – vi) / t, where A =         average acceleration

                         Vf =         Final Velocity

                         Vi =         Initial velocity

                         T  =         Time taken

If we slow down this is known as deceleration, as a person gets faster then they are accelerating. In order to produce acceleration, a force must be applied to the body, the bigger the force the bigger the acceleration, the bigger the mass the slower the acceleration. A 100m sprinter will keep accelerating, until he/she will reach their constant speed, this is where they are neither accelerating nor decelerating.

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For example:

        A 100metre sprinter speeds up their velocity from 5 mph to 15mph, in a time period of 5 seconds; therefore we use the formula to calculate there average their acceleration. (vf – vi ) = (5 – 15) = 10 / 5 = 2 ms-2 (it is calculated in metres per second per second). The opposite of accelerating is deceleration. They are also known as positive and negative acceleration.

Although speed and velocity are similar they do have some similarities, speed represents how fast an object is going, velocity represents, the rate of change of displacement with time but has the same units as speed however. For example a marathon runner is running at 10mph this is known as speed, however if you say they are running at 10 mph in a southerly then you talking about its velocity.

Velocity is a vector quantity, which refers to ‘the rate at which an object changes its position.’ (Tom Henderson, 1996)

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Author Unknown, 2004, http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/1DKin/U1L1d.html [Accessed, 03/01/06]

Tom Henderson, 1996, http://www.glenbrook.k12.il.us/gbssci/phys/Class/1DKin/U1L1e.html [Accessed 03/01/06]

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