rate of change of the velocity of an object. Acceleration is a vector quantity (see vector and velocity)

**acceleration**(

*noun*)

*broadly*change of velocity

Acceleration | |
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In the absence of air resistance and thus terminal velocity, a falling ball would continue to accelerate. | |

Common symbols | a |

SI unit | m/s^{2}, m·s^{−2}, m s^{−2} |

Dimension | L T ^{−2} |

In physics, **acceleration** is the rate of change of velocity of an object with respect to time. An object's acceleration is the net result of all forces acting on the object, as described by Newton's Second Law. The SI unit for acceleration is metre per second squared (m⋅s^{−2}). Accelerations are vector quantities (they have magnitude and direction) and add according to the parallelogram law. The vector of the net force acting on a body has the same direction as the vector of the body's acceleration, and its magnitude is proportional to the magnitude of the acceleration, with the object's mass (a scalar quantity) as proportionality constant.

For example, when a car starts from a standstill (zero velocity, in an inertial frame of reference) and travels in a straight line at increasing speeds, it is *accelerating* in the direction of travel. If the car turns, an acceleration occurs toward the new direction. The forward acceleration of the car is called a *linear* (or *tangential*) acceleration, the reaction to which passengers in the car experience as a force pushing them back into their seats. When changing direction, this is called *radial* (as orthogonal to tangential) acceleration, the reaction to which passengers experience as a sideways force. If the speed of the car decreases, this is an acceleration in the opposite direction of the velocity of the vehicle, sometimes called **deceleration** or **Retrograde burning** in spacecraft. Passengers experience the reaction to deceleration as a force pushing them forwards. Both acceleration and deceleration are treated the same, they are both changes in velocity. Each of these accelerations (tangential, radial, deceleration) is felt by passengers until their velocity (speed and direction) matches that of the uniformly moving car.