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Q:

# How is acceleration measured?

A:

Acceleration is measured by using an accelerometer, an electromechanical device that measures acceleration forces. Dimension Engineering explains that these forces can be static, such as those caused by gravity, or dynamic, as in those that cause motion.

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Accelerometers can work in a variety of ways, but the two main types work through piezoelectricity, or capacitance. Piezoelectric material generates an electrical charge when a pressure is applied to it. When a vibration or change in motion (acceleration) occurs, a mass in the accelerometer will apply a pressure to the piezoelectric material proportional to the acceleration; thus, the piezoelectric material will generate an electric charge proportional to the acceleration. Since accelerometers are typically calibrated, the measured output charge can easily be corresponded to an acceleration.

Another way accelerometers can work is through capacitance. According to Wikipedia, capacitance occurs when two conducting materials are separated by a non-conducting material, like air, and the distance between them determines the amount of capacitance that is available. If the two conducting materials move apart due to acceleration, then the capacitance between them changes. By introducing circuitry, it is possible to convert from capacitance to a measurable voltage, which corresponds to an acceleration as with a piezoelectric accelerometer.

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## Related Questions

• A:

Gravitational potential energy depends on the mass of the object, acceleration because of gravity and the height of the object from a zero position, which is typically the ground or surface where the object is resting. This is because potential energy is the amount of energy stored in an object due to its position and represents the potential for a force, such as gravity, to do work on the object.

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• A:

A 50 pound-mass dumbbell is pulled downward by the Earth's gravitational field at an acceleration of 32.174 feet-pound-mass per second squared, so the force to lift it is 1,608.7 pounds-force. Newton's second law of motion states that force is equal to mass multiplied by acceleration, gravitational or otherwise.

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• A:

The formula for acceleration is given as a = (v2 - v1) / (t2 - t1), where "a" denotes the acceleration, "v2" indicates the final velocity, "v1" represents the initial velocity and "t2 - t1" is the time interval between the final and initial velocities. The SI unit for acceleration is meters per second squared (m/s2), while the British imperial unit is feet per second squared (ft/s2).