To know what angular acceleration means, it is necessary that, first of all, we proceed to know its etymological origin. In this sense, we must emphasize that this is the one with the two words that make it up:
-Acceleration derives from the Latin, specifically, from “acceleratio” which can be translated as “the action of proceeding to increase speed”. It is the result of the sum of three different parts: the prefix “ad-“, which means “towards”; the adjective “celer”, which is synonymous with “fast”; and the suffix “-ción”, which can be translated as “action and effect”.
-Angular, on the other hand, is a word that comes from the Greek, exactly from “ankulus”, which means “bent” or “that has the shape of an angle”.
The acceleration is the act and the result of accelerating (increasing speed to give more speed). The concept can also be used to name the magnitude that signals the speed increase in a time unit.
Angular, according to Digopaul, is the adjective that qualifies that linked to an angle: the figure of geometry that is made up of two lines that share the same starting point.
After reviewing these definitions, we can introduce ourselves to the notion of angular acceleration. It is the alteration that is registered in the angular velocity in a certain period of time.
Therefore, we must go on to analyze the idea of angular velocity to know what angular acceleration is. This speed measures, per unit of time, the angle rotated by an element that performs a rotational movement.
This means that angular acceleration is linked to how the speed reached by an element that rotates in a rotational movement changes. This acceleration is expressed in radians per second squared and is mentioned as the alpha letter of the Greek alphabet.
It should be noted that both angular acceleration and angular velocity have a vector character. Acceleration does not change the axis of rotation, which maintains a stable direction in space.
Within the field of Physics, an important role is played by angular acceleration. So much so that we resort to establishing that there are several methods to calculate it, among which the following stand out:
-Calculate the average angular acceleration. In order to carry out this operation, it is necessary to carry out steps such as measuring the initial angular velocity, the final angular velocity and the elapsed time.
-Calculate instantaneous angular acceleration. In order to undertake this other operation, it is necessary to previously determine what the position of the angular function is, search for the angular velocity function, find the function of said acceleration and apply the data to find the instantaneous acceleration.
-Review the angular acceleration that, among other things, involves measuring angular movement in radians.
If we take the case of a body that performs a uniform circular motion (known as MCU), we will notice that the angular acceleration is equal to 0. This is because the angular velocity is constant: thus, if the angular velocity does not change, there is no angular acceleration.
When the circular motion is uniformly accelerated (MCUA), on the other hand, an angular acceleration that remains constant is registered.