Difference Between Velocity vs. Acceleration

Main Difference

The main difference between velocity and acceleration is that velocity is the speed of any moving object in a specific direction while acceleration is the rate of change of velocity of that object.

Velocity vs. Acceleration

Both velocity and acceleration are the fundamental concepts in physics that are used to describe motion. Motion is the movement or the change in the position of a body with respect to time. Walking, running, driving, diving, flying of birds and falling of leaves etc. are all the states of motion. Velocity is the speed of the moving body in a specific direction while acceleration is the change in velocity of the moving body with respect to time. So, velocity is the rate of change of displacement whereas acceleration is the rate of change of velocity.

Comparison Chart

VelocityAcceleration
The speed of a moving object in a specific direction with respect to time is known as velocity.The rate of change of velocity of a moving body is known as acceleration.
Nature
It is a vector quantity.It is also a vector quantity.
Change
Velocity is the rate of change of displacement of a moving body.Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity of a moving body.
Formula
Displacement/timeVelocity/time
SI unit
Its SI unit is m/s.Its SI unit is m/s^2
Application
Velocity is used to measure the time taken by a storm to reach on a coastline.Acceleration is used to evaluate the performance of a vehicle.

What is Velocity?

Velocity is the distance that the moving object has covered in a specific direction in a particular interval of time. In other words, we can say that it is the rate of change of displacement. If an object moves up to a specific point and then back to its starting position than the velocity of the moving object will be zero. It is a vector quantity, i.e. both magnitude and direction are required to explain it. Velocity is used to measure the time taken by a satellite to reach the moon. Its unit is m/s.

Formula

The velocity of a moving object can find out by the formula: Velocity = Displacement/time

Example

If a car is moving 100m in 10 seconds towards north than its velocity is 10m/s towards the north.

What is Acceleration?

Change in velocity of a moving body with respect to time is known as acceleration. In other words, we can say that it is the rate of change of velocity of a moving body. It is the net result of all the forces acting on a body. It is also a vector quantity. Acceleration is used to evaluate the performance of a moving body. An instrument known as an accelerometer is used to measure the acceleration. Its SI unit is m/s^2. There are two types of acceleration.

Centripetal Acceleration

If a body is moving with uniform speed in a circular path than its acceleration is called centripetal acceleration because the direction of the motion is changing every moment.

Tangential Acceleration

A type of motion in which there is no change in direction while speed is changing with time is known as tangential acceleration.

Formula

Acceleration of a moving object can find out by the formula: Acceleration = Velocity/time

Example

A pendulum moving in a circular path is an example of centripetal acceleration because the direction of its velocity is constantly changing in a circular path while a car moving such that its speed or velocity is continuously increasing in the same direction is an example of tangential acceleration.

Key Differences

  1. The rate of change of displacement is known as velocity whereas acceleration is the rate of change of velocity.
  2. SI unit of velocity is m/s while that of acceleration is m/s^
  3. Velocity can be measured by dividing displacement by time while acceleration can be measured by dividing velocity by time.
  4. Velocity is used to determine the time taken by a storm to reach on a coastline while acceleration is used to evaluate the performance of a vehicle.

Conclusion

According to above discussion, it is concluded that rate of change of displacement of a moving body with specific direction is called its velocity while the rate of change of velocity of that body is known as acceleration which is also a vector quantity.