Angular Acceleration Calculator

Created by Dominik Czernia, PhD candidate
Reviewed by Bogna Szyk
Last updated: Apr 24, 2022

Angular acceleration calculator helps you find the angular acceleration of an object that rotates or moves around a circle. As you will soon see, the angular acceleration formula differs from the acceleration in linear motion, which you probably know very well. Read on if you want to learn what are the angular acceleration units and what is the angular acceleration equation. You will find out that you can compute it with our angular acceleration calculator in two different ways. You can also check our centrifugal force calculator, which is dedicated to the circular motion too.

Angular acceleration definition

The rotational movement of an object is usually described by a physical quantity called angular velocity. It measures the angle by which an object has rotated in a specific time. For example, imagine that a carousel in an amusement park performs full rotation within ten seconds. Its angular velocity is one rotation (360°) per ten second or 36° per second.

Let's assume that our carousel starts to rotate faster and faster, not 36° but 50°, then 64° per second. The angular acceleration describes this rate of change of angular velocity and is caused by torque.

In the next section, we will see how to find the rate of change of angular velocity, i.e., the angular acceleration.

Angular acceleration formula

Angular acceleration can be computed with our angular acceleration calculator in two different ways. We are using below angular acceleration equations:

α = (ω₂ - ω₁) / t or α = a / R

where

  • α is the angular acceleration,
  • ω₁ is the initial angular velocity,
  • ω₂ is the final angular velocity,
  • t is the time of change of angular velocity,
  • a is the tangential acceleration,
  • R is the radius of the circle (or the distance from an axis of rotation).

Tangential acceleration acts as a linear acceleration, which is perpendicular to the radius of the circle.

🔎 When an angular velocity is a scalar (not a vector), we should call it angular speed or angular frequency. Check out our angular frequency calculator to learn more about it!

Angular acceleration units

There are several different units that can be used to express the angular acceleration:

  • the most common are units of angle per second squared (e.g. rad/s², °/s²). This unit illustrates well the meaning of the angular acceleration since the linear acceleration is expressed in m/s² or ft/s².
  • sometimes, we omit the numerator leaving only the 1/s².
  • because angular velocity can be expressed in hertz Hz = 1/s, we can also use this in angular acceleration receiving Hz/s. We have used this convention in our angular acceleration calculator.

The conversion between the above angular acceleration units is as follows rad/s² = 1/s² = Hz/s. You can check our angle conversion calculator too!

Speaking of angles and angular concepts, are you aware of angular displacement! Check out our angular displacement calculator if you are interested.

Dominik Czernia, PhD candidate
How would you like to calculate angular acceleration?
Method
angular velocity difference
Angular velocity difference
Initial angular velocity
rad/s
Final angular velocity
rad/s
Time
sec
Angular acceleration
rad/s²
Check out 19 similar rotational and periodic motion calculators 🌎
Angular displacementAngular frequencyAngular momentum… 16 more
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