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Difference between centripetal and linear acceleration?

  1. Dec 5, 2014 #1
    Hello all! I'm having some difficulty understanding one of the concepts of angular motion.

    My textbook tells me that the total linear acceleration of a point in a rotating body is the vector sum of tangential acceleration and centripetal acceleration.

    However, later on in the chapter, there is an example problem using a rotating rod where we are supposed to find the linear acceleration of the tip of the rod. I thought that linear acceleration = tangential acceleration + centripetal acceleration, but for this example it says that linear acceleration = tangential acceleration. I don't see how they could suddenly ignore the centripetal acceleration??

    Any explanation would be appreciated! Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 5, 2014 #2


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    Gold Member

    Hello Nuzzy,
    Yes. Confusing terms.
    Angular acceleration.
    Linear acceleration.

    Radial acceleration.
    Tangential acceleration.

    Centripetal acceleration.

    One can substitute 'velocity' for 'acceleration' for another motion term of particle also.

    Do you have a clear understanding of what each term means?
    I won't be back for a while, so someone else may jump in.
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