Q:

How do you chart an acceleration vs. time graph?

A:

Quick Answer

Acceleration vs. time should be represented visually as a line graph.The horizontal axis, or x axis, should measure time, and the vertical axis, or y axis, should measure acceleration.

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Full Answer

A graph should always include a title that describes the variables and relationship measured. In this case, "Acceleration vs. Time" would be adequate. Using the correct units is imperative, and a graph of acceleration vs. time should measure time in seconds, represented by s, and acceleration in meters per second per second, represented by m/s/s. There is no need to include negative values on the x axis, as it is impossible to measure negative time. An object may have negative acceleration, however, so the vertical axis may include negative values. Label both axes with the variable measured and the units used, and show the scale used to plot data, increments of 1, 5, or 10 for example. Plotting and connecting data between these axes results in a line with a slope that shows the change in acceleration over time. For example, a graph with a flat slope demonstrates that an object had constant and unchanging acceleration during the time of the experiment. Note that this does not mean that the speed of the object did not change, but rather that its speed changed at a constant rate.

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