What is Tangential Velocity

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An object moving in a circular path has velocity which is directed towards the tangent drawn at a specific point on the circle at a certain instant of time. This velocity is known as the tangential velocity. This velocity is the object’s instantaneous velocity at a particular instant of time, when the object is moving in the circular motion. The speed of the object with which it is moving on a circular path is considered as the magnitude of the tangential velocity; however its direction is along the tangent drawn at that particular point.

Example 1: An object travels on a circular track of radius 10m. What is the tangential velocity of the object, if it takes 6secs to complete one circular rotation around the track?

Tangential velocity, vt = (Distance travelled)/ (Time taken)

Distance travelled on the circular track = Circumference of the circle = 2πr

This implies: Distance, d = 2 * π * 10 = 20π meters.

Time, t = 6secs

Tangential velocity, vt = 20π/6 = 10.47m/sec

Example 2: A car takes 9secs to complete one circular rotation on a circular path. What is the tangential velocity of the car, if the radius of the circular path is 8m?

Tangential velocity, vt = (Distance travelled)/ (Time taken)

Distance travelled on the circular track = Circumference of the circle = 2πr

This implies: Distance, d = 2 * π * 8m = 16π meters.

Time, t = 9secs

Tangential velocity, vt = 16π/9 = 5.58m/sec
 

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