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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.

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