CIE A Level Physics (9702) 2019-2021

Revision Notes

14.2.2 Calculating Centripetal Acceleration

Calculating Centripetal Acceleration

  • Centripetal acceleration can be defined using the radius r and linear speed v:

Calculating Centripetal Acceleration equation 1

  • Using the equation relating angular speed ω and linear speed v:

 v = r⍵

  • These equations can be combined to give us another form of the centripetal acceleration equation:

Calculating Centripetal Acceleration equation 2

  • This equation tells us centripetal acceleration is equal to the radius times the square of the angular speed
  • Alternatively, rearrange for r:

Calculating Centripetal Acceleration equation 3

  • This equation can be combined with the first one to give us another form of the centripetal acceleration equation:

Calculating Centripetal Acceleration equation 4

  • This equation tells us centripetal acceleration is equal to the linear speed times the angular speed

Centripetal acceleration diagram, downloadable AS & A Level Physics revision notes

Centripetal acceleration is always directed toward the centre of the circle, and is perpendicular to the object’s velocity

 

  • Where:
    • a = centripetal acceleration (m s-2)
    • v = linear speed (m s-1)
    • ⍵ = angular speed (rad s-1)
    • r = radius of the orbit (m)

Worked example: Centripetal acceleration

Worked example - centripetal acceleration, downloadable AS & A Level Physics revision notes

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