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Homework Help: Translating acceleration into distance traveled

  1. Jun 4, 2008 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    If something is moving at a constant acceleration (starting from 0 velocity) for a known period of time, how do you figure how far they've traveled? Eg. a car is accelerating at 2 m/s^2 for 20 seconds.

    I'm taking an algebra based physics course.

    2. Relevant equations

    I do not know which equation are relevant.

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I know I can multiply time by acceleration and get a final velocity. for example the final velocity is 40 m/s in my example. I don't know how to factor position into it.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 4, 2008 #2


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    Homework Helper

    Look up Newton's equations of motion

    I can tell you how to derive them if you wish.
  4. Jun 4, 2008 #3

    I think the equations you need are those we use for uniform motion, ie when the acceleration is constant.

    Assuming all the motion is one direction only the distance traveled will be [tex] s=v_{0}t + \frac{at^{2}}{2}[/tex]

    where [tex]v_{0}=initial\ velocity\; a=acceleration\; t=time\ elapsed\; and\ s=distance\ traveled [/tex]

    Also [tex] v_{1}^{2}-v_{0}^{2}=2as[/tex]
  5. Jun 4, 2008 #4
    Thanks that works
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