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How can an object have an acceleration of 9.81m/s^2 when there is

  1. Feb 14, 2013 #1
    no change in velocity? How can a rock that isn't moving have acceleration?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 14, 2013 #2
    Re: How can an object have an acceleration of 9.81m/s^2 when there is

    Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity, isn't it? So it is speeding up in whatever direction 9.81m/s every second, therefore there must be a change in V?
     
  4. Feb 14, 2013 #3

    mfb

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    Re: How can an object have an acceleration of 9.81m/s^2 when there is

    It cannot have a (net) acceleration in a frame where it stays at rest.
    It can have forces acting on it (like gravity, and a force from the floor), but they have to cancel.
     
  5. Feb 14, 2013 #4
    Re: How can an object have an acceleration of 9.81m/s^2 when there is

    Hmmm, then there must be another definition of acceleration other than a change in velocity. Unless a change in velocy only applies to net acceleration.
     
  6. Feb 14, 2013 #5
    Re: How can an object have an acceleration of 9.81m/s^2 when there is

    Sorry, I meant that it does not make sense to me that still object has acceleration g. There is no change in velocity, yet Einstein says that it has the same acceleration as something that has a changing velocity.
     
  7. Feb 14, 2013 #6
    Re: How can an object have an acceleration of 9.81m/s^2 when there is

    As in the object may be running parallel to an object with the same acceleration, in the same direction, so they have no relative movement between the two?
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013
  8. Feb 14, 2013 #7

    Drakkith

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    Re: How can an object have an acceleration of 9.81m/s^2 when there is

    First, are we talking about simple classical acceleration, or about General Relativity?
    In classical physics the answer is that an object that isn't changing velocity has no acceleration. Gravity provides a force on an object, but for those on the ground there is no acceleration. The force on an object is equal to the force that would accelerate that object at 9.8 m/s2.
     
  9. Feb 14, 2013 #8
    Re: How can an object have an acceleration of 9.81m/s^2 when there is

    Oh, I am in the first year of university physics, and we have not got to relateivity yet. They should probably have told us that a change in velocity is true except for with g. That really screwed me up.
     
  10. Feb 14, 2013 #9

    WannabeNewton

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    Re: How can an object have an acceleration of 9.81m/s^2 when there is

    No it is always true that [itex]\sum F_{i} = m\sum a_{i} = m\sum \frac{\mathrm{d} v_{i}}{\mathrm{d} t}[/itex] for a single particle constant mass system (the indexes label the motion coupled to the respective force). The point is that when you place a pebble on the ground, there is an upwards reaction force from the ground on the pebble (loosely put it arises out of the electrostatic repulsions between the pebble and the ground) and this reaction force just happens to cancel out the weight of the pebble so that the net acceleration given above vanishes.
     
  11. Feb 14, 2013 #10
    Re: How can an object have an acceleration of 9.81m/s^2 when there is

    Then why do they tell us that acceleration is a change in velocity all thoughout our textbook?
     
  12. Feb 14, 2013 #11

    WannabeNewton

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    Re: How can an object have an acceleration of 9.81m/s^2 when there is

    Because it is; What has been said thus far that has contradicted that?
     
  13. Feb 14, 2013 #12
    Re: How can an object have an acceleration of 9.81m/s^2 when there is

    The rock has an "acceleration due to gravity" which is -9.8 m/s2. It has an "acceleration due to the ground" which is +9.8 m/s2. Add them together and you get zero.
     
  14. Feb 14, 2013 #13

    Dale

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    Re: How can an object have an acceleration of 9.81m/s^2 when there is

    There are two kinds of acceleration.

    First, there is coordinate acceleration. This is the second time derivative of position, or the first time derivative of velocity. You don't get coordinate acceleration without change in velocity.

    Second, there is proper acceleration. This is the acceleration measured by an accelerometer. Most likely you currently have a proper acceleration of 9.8 m/s² upwards although I suspect that you probably consider yourself to be at rest thus having a constant velocity of 0. So proper acceleration can be non-zero even with zero change in velocity.
     
  15. Feb 14, 2013 #14

    DrGreg

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    Re: How can an object have an acceleration of 9.81m/s^2 when there is

    Acceleration and velocity are always relative to something. You need to know what the "something" is, or is assumed to be, before you can say whether an object is accelerating or not.

    In Newtonian physics we measure acceleration relative to the Earth's surface.

    In General Relativity we measure (proper) acceleration relative to falling objects.
     
  16. Feb 14, 2013 #15
    Re: How can an object have an acceleration of 9.81m/s^2 when there is

    Oh, so are you saying that to a rock falling, a different still-object will seem to be accelerating - hence relativity?
     
  17. Feb 14, 2013 #16
    Re: How can an object have an acceleration of 9.81m/s^2 when there is

    So a rock with zero velocity and zero speed has velocity!?

    You may as well type Chineese instead of those formulas because it would mean the exact same to me.
     
  18. Feb 14, 2013 #17

    cepheid

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    Re: How can an object have an acceleration of 9.81m/s^2 when there is

    A rock sitting on the ground has zero acceleration because zero net force acts on it. Period. That's it. It doesn't have an acceleration of g.
     
  19. Feb 14, 2013 #18
    Re: How can an object have an acceleration of 9.81m/s^2 when there is

    Well, it has zero velocity. I don't quite understand. (The formulas were saying that "the sum of the forces on an object is mass * acceleration, or the sum of the accelerations depending on if you define acceleration to be the total change in velocity or the result of the force, in which case the total acceleration, or the change in velocity, is just the sum of the accelerations." A little wonky.)
     
  20. Feb 14, 2013 #19

    DrGreg

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    Re: How can an object have an acceleration of 9.81m/s^2 when there is

    Yes. If a rock falls, there's 2 ways to look at it.
    1. The rock is accelerating downwards relative to the ground.
    2. The ground is accelerating upwards relative to the rock.
    The revolutionary aspect of General Relativity was to base it on (2) instead of (1).
     
  21. Feb 14, 2013 #20
    Re: How can an object have an acceleration of 9.81m/s^2 when there is

    Wow, thanks!
     
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