AQA A Level Physics

Revision Notes

6.1.3 Angular Speed

Angular Speed

  • Any object travelling in a uniform circular motion at the same speed travels with a constantly changing velocity
  • This is because it is constantly changing direction, and is therefore accelerating
  • The angular speed (⍵) of a body in circular motion is defined as:

The rate of change in angular displacement with respect to time

Angular Speed Equation 2

  • Where:
    • Δθ = change in angular displacement (radians )
    • Δt = time interval (s)
  • Angular speed is a scalar quantity, and is measured in rad s-1

Angular speed diagram, downloadable AS & A Level Physics revision notes

When an object is in uniform circular motion, velocity constantly changes direction, but the speed stays the same

  • Taking the angular displacement of a complete cycle as 2π, the angular speed ⍵ can be calculated using the equation:

Angular Speed Equation 1

  • Where:
    • v = linear speed (m s-1)
    • r = radius of orbit (m)
    • T = the time period (s)
    • f = frequency (Hz)
  • Angular velocity is the same as angular speed, but it is a vector quantity
  • This equation tells us:
    • The greater the rotation angle θ in a given amount of time, the greater the angular velocity ⍵
    • An object rotating further from the centre of the circle (larger r) moves with a faster angular velocity (larger ⍵)

Worked Example

A bird flies in a horizontal circle with an angular speed of 5.25 rad s-1 of radius 650 m.

a) The linear speed of the bird
b) The frequency of the bird flying in a complete circle

WE - Angular speed answer image, downloadable AS & A Level Physics revision notes


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