Newton's 3 Laws of Motion
Motion and forces are everywhere! Why do things move? Why do they stop? How do forces work? Isaac Newton laid down 3 laws of motion more than three hundred years ago that form the foundation of classical mechanics and are still in use today.
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Speed, Velocity, and Acceleration
Speed, velocity, and acceleration can be confusing concepts, but if you have a few minutes, I'll clear it all up for you.
Thanks for stopping by! I’m Virgil Ricks, and this is 2 minute classroom.
Today we are talking about motion, specifically speed, velocity, and acceleration.
Let’s clear a few things up right off the bat. Speed and velocity ARE different. And acceleration is much more than “speeding up”
Speed is the rate at which something changes position. It’s represented as distance over time. M/h, Km/h, and m/s are examples of units for speed. If you’re driving 72 mph in your car, then that is your speed, in fact, it’s your instantaneous speed, which is the speed you are traveling at that exact moment. If you get to the end of your trip and discover it took you 2 hours to go 120 miles, you overall speed was 60 mph. This is your average speed.
Velocity is a lot like speed except for one important difference, it is a vector, meaning it has a direction. So while your speed may have been 72 mph, your velocity was 72 mph east, or 72 mph toward the ocean. There just has to be some direction attached to the speed to make it a velocity.
With that knowledge in hand you can now understand acceleration, which is simply the rate at which velocity changes. It’s units are distance per time per time, or distance per time squared. m/s2 for example. Any time you change velocity you are accelerating. This includes speeding up and slowing down (which is called negative acceleration). But direction is also a component of velocity, so when you change direction you are accelerating, even if your speed does not change. Does that blow your mind?
Alright, let’s recap. Speed is the rate at which something moves, distance over time. Velocity is speed with a direction, so distance over time with a specific direction. And acceleration, the king of them all, is distance over time squared, aka the rate at which velocity changes. Whether you are speeding up, slowing down, or changing directions, you are changing your velocity and thus, accelerating.