Lessons 2: What is Acceleration?
A car speeds up and most people know that it is accelerating. But, if a car is slowing down or changing direction, is it undergoing acceleration? Can you find out what factors affect acceleration?
Doing the science
- Select the Simulation tab to open the Acceleration simulation.
- Select one of the three vehicles on the left side of the screen by clicking on the vehicle.
- Select a speed of 10 m/s.
- Allow a couple of seconds for the vehicle to reach a constant speed. The acceleration dialog box appears when the vehicle reaches a constant speed.
- Choose an acceleration value of "2 m/s2."
- Read the speed gauge and record in Table 1 the final speed of the vehicle.
- Select the "Restart" option.
- Select the same vehicle as before.
- Select a speed of 20 m/s.
- Repeat steps 4–6 above.
- The vehicle traveled for 10 seconds during each of the two trials. If the vehicle increased its speed by 2 m/s each second, calculate and record in Table 1 the vehicle’s final speed after the 10-second acceleration for each of the two trials.