Finding the acceleration of a car based on a velocity vs time plot

In summary, the conversation discusses finding the average acceleration for specific gears using a velocity/time graph. The equation for average acceleration is Δv/Δt and it is important to choose the appropriate initial and final points for each gear in order to accurately calculate the average acceleration for that gear.
  • #1
LOLItsAJ
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Homework Statement


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Homework Equations


Unsure, maybe v2-v1/t2-t1?

The Attempt at a Solution


I assumed taking the difference between the final point in the graph and the first one and got 1.53m/s2 as an answer, but I'm not sure at all. Should i take the differences between all the gears and then average them?
 
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  • #2
Remember that acceleration is the slope on a velocity/time graph. You've got the right equation, average acceleration is Δv/Δt. If you found the slope between the first point and the final point, you'd find the average acceleration across all 5 gears. However, the question asks for the average acceleration in specific gears.

For part a, for example, which asks for the average acceleration in second gear, you'll want to make your initial point at the start of 2nd gear (at the first flat spot) and your final point at the end of 2nd gear (the 2nd flat spot). The slope between those two points will give the average acceleration in gear 2.
 

1. How is acceleration calculated from a velocity vs time plot?

Acceleration is calculated by finding the slope of the line on the velocity vs time plot. The slope represents the change in velocity over the change in time, which is the definition of acceleration.

2. Can acceleration be negative on a velocity vs time plot?

Yes, acceleration can be negative on a velocity vs time plot. This indicates that the car is slowing down, or decelerating.

3. How can I determine the acceleration at a specific point on the velocity vs time plot?

To determine the acceleration at a specific point on the plot, you can use the tangent line method. Draw a tangent line at the desired point and measure its slope to find the acceleration.

4. Is there a difference between average acceleration and instantaneous acceleration?

Yes, there is a difference between average acceleration and instantaneous acceleration. Average acceleration is calculated over a period of time, while instantaneous acceleration is calculated at a specific moment in time.

5. What factors can affect the acceleration of a car?

The acceleration of a car can be affected by various factors such as the engine power, weight of the car, friction, air resistance, and road conditions. These factors can either increase or decrease the acceleration of the car.

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