Acceleration is the rate at which an object changes its speed. It's calulated using the equation: acceleration = change in speed / time taken.
Speed-time graphs illustrate how the speed of an object changes over time. The steeper the gradient of the line, the greater the acceleration.
In everyday language we use 'accelerate' to mean speeding up and 'decelerate' to mean slowing down. In scientific terms 'acceleration' is the rate at which something changes its speed - faster or slower.
Acceleration depends on two things:
- How much the speed changes
- How much time the change in speed takes
acceleration = change in speed / time taken
change in speed = acceleration x time taken
time taken = change in speed / acceleration