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Acceleration


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In physics, and more specifically kinematics, acceleration is the change in velocity over time. Because velocity is a vector, it can change in two ways: a change in magnitude and/or a change in direction.

In one dimension, acceleration is the rate at which something speeds up or slows down. However, as a vector quantity, acceleration is also the rate at which direction changes.

Acceleration has the dimensions L T−2. In SI units, acceleration is measured in metres per second squared (m/s2).

In common speech, the term acceleration commonly is used for an increase in speed (the magnitude of velocity); a decrease in speed is called deceleration.

In physics, a change in the direction of velocity also is an acceleration: for motion on a planar surface, the change in direction of velocity results in centripetal acceleration; whereas the rate of change of speed is a tangential acceleration.

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