When a body rotates at a point it undergoes two types of linear acceleration. When the acceleration is related to the magnitude of linear velocity changes which is called Tangential Acceleration. The other one is related to the change in direction of linear velocity as the body rotates and is called centripetal acceleration.


In this lesson, we are going to discuss what is tangential acceleration and it's formula and SI unit.

Tangential Acceleration Definition

Tangential acceleration is a measure of how the speed of a point at a certain radius changes with time.


Tangential acceleration occurs only when the magnitude of linear velocity changes wait time.

Tangential Acceleration Example

When you start a lawn mower, a point on the tip of one of its blades starts at a tangential speed of zero and ends up with the fast speed. So, at that point tangential acceleration occurred it can be findable with a very easy formula.

Also Read:

Tangential Acceleration Unit

Tangent acceleration is a vector and can be measured by the SI unit metre per second squared (m/s2).

Tangential acceleration                   m/s2

Tangential Acceleration Formula

Acceleration is denoted by 'at' and there are two formulas for tangential acceleration. First one can be written as change in velocity divided by the change in time.

at = ∆v / ∆t
  • at is tangential acceleration
  • ∆v is the change in velocity
  • ∆t is the change in time

The other formula of tangential acceleration can be written as angular acceleration multiplied the radius.

at = ra
  • a is the angular acceleration of the body
  • r is the radius of rotation of the body

Also Read: 

Solved Questions