Circular Motion

Topics: Velocity, Kinematics, Circular motion Pages: 2 (662 words) Published: April 29, 2013
Circular Motion

Uniform circular motion is the movement of an object or particle trajectory at a constant speed around a circle with a fixed radius. The fixed radius, r, is the position of an object in uniform or circular motion relative to to the center of the circle. The length of the position vector of the circle does not change but its direction does as the object follows its circular path. In order to find the object’s velocity, one needs to find its displacement vector over the specific time interval. The change in position, or the object’s displacement, is represented by the change in r. Also, remember that a position vector is a displacement vector with its tail at the origin. It is already known that the average velocity of a moving object is ᐃd/ ᐃt, so for an object in circular motion, the equation is ᐃr/ ᐃt. IN other words the velocity vector has the same direction as the displacement, but at a different length. As the velocity vector moves around the circle, its direction changes but its length remains the same. The difference in between two vectors, ᐃv, is found by subtracting the vectors. The average acceleration, a = ᐃv/ ᐃt, is in the same direction as ᐃv, that is, toward the center of the circle. As the object moves around the circle, the direction of the acceleration vector changes, but its length remains the same.One should take note of the fact that the acceleration vector of an object in uniform circular motion always points in toward the center of the circle. Due to this fact, the acceleration of such an object is called center- seeking or centripetal acceleration.

Remember that centripetal acceleration always points to the center of the circle. Its magnitude is equal to the square of the speed, divided by the radius of motion. The equation one must use in order to find the centripetal acceleration of an object in circular motion is a = v²/ r. One way one can measure the speed of an object in circular motion is to measure its period,...
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