# What Is the Tangential Component of Acceleration?

The tangential acceleration of a body is the rate of change of the tangential component of the velocity of the body with time. For a body to have tangential acceleration, it needs to be moving in an angular path. The notion of tangential acceleration is closely related to the notions of angular velocity, displacement, and momentum.

The angular acceleration of a body can be inferred by finding the second derivative of the relation that gives the change of the angular displacement with respect to time. This is equivalent to the derivative of the angular velocity with respect to time. This angular acceleration is usually denoted by the Greek letter Alpha, and is measured in radians per second square. There is a relation between the angular acceleration of a rotating body, its mass moment of inertia, and the torque that is applied to it, where the angular acceleration of the body in question is equal to the torque that is being applied divided by this mass moment of inertia. So long as the torque being applied and the mass of the body remain constant, the angular acceleration that this body undergoes is uniform. Once this angular acceleration has been found, it can be broken down into normal and tangential components for further analysis.

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