Circular Motion

A particle is experiencing circular motion, as shown below.

circular motion of a particle

Define the following variables:

R is the radius of the circle

w is the angular velocity in radians/s (at an instant)

α is the angular acceleration in radians/s2 (at an instant)

vT is the tangential velocity of the particle (at an instant)

aT is the tangential acceleration of the particle (at an instant)

ac is the (centripetal) acceleration of the particle towards the center of the circle (at an instant)


circular motion equations

The above formulas tell us that (for the general case), when a particle is moving around a circular path, there is one component of velocity: tangential, and two components of acceleration: tangential and centripetal.

If you want to test your understanding and solve some problems go to Circular Motion Problems.

Return to Useful Physics Formulas page

Return to Real World Physics Problems home page

Confused and have questions? Head over to Chegg and use code “CS5OFFBTS18” (expires 11/30/18) to get $5 off your first month of Chegg Study, so you can get step-by-step solutions to your questions from an expert in the field. Plus get a free 30 minute tutoring session.

Are you a physics professor looking for graduate students?
Are you an employer looking for someone with a physics degree?
Do you want exposure for your physics article or publication?
Consider advertising on this website. It has over 100,000 unique visitors a month. Click here for more information.