We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Negative Acceleration?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
All The Science is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All The Science, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Negative acceleration indicates that the velocity of an object is changing in a negative direction, which can mean that it is traveling either slower or faster. The term “acceleration” is used in physics to describe a change in velocity for an object, and it is a vector quantity, which means that it indicates both magnitude and direction. Something that is traveling with positive velocity, velocity is also a vector, and experiencing negative acceleration is slowing down. In contrast to this, an object that has negative acceleration as well as negative velocity is actually moving faster.

It is often easiest for someone to understand acceleration in general, and negative acceleration specifically, by first understanding velocity. Although the terms “speed,” “velocity,” and “acceleration” are sometimes used synonymously in common conversation, these three words have very different meanings in reference to physics. “Speed” is the measurement of how far an object travels over a certain period of time, and is often expressed in miles per hour (mph) or meters per second (m/s).

“Velocity” is similar to speed, but indicates not only the actual speed itself but also the direction an object is moving in, which makes it a vector quantity. This means that an object traveling with a velocity of 20 m/s and another traveling at -20 m/s are both moving at the same speed but in opposite directions. “Acceleration” is a measurement regarding the change in an object’s velocity, and is often expressed in terms of meters per second, per second (m/s/s or m/s2). An object moving at rest one second, then moving at 10 m/s the next second, 20 m/s the next, and 30 m/s the following second has an acceleration of 10 m/s2 as this is the change in velocity.

One of the simplest ways for a person to see negative acceleration is by throwing something into the air. When the thrown object leaves his or her hand, it is moving at a certain velocity, for example 40 m/s. The force of gravity pulls downward on the object as it travels upwards in a positive direction, giving it an acceleration of about -10 m/s2. After one second the object is still moving at 30 m/s, another second later and it is moving at 20 m/s, and after two more seconds it comes to a brief stop before continuing the acceleration downward.

Negative acceleration simply indicates the direction of the acceleration, and can mean that an object is either increasing or decreasing in velocity. An object moving with a positive velocity, which has a negative acceleration, is slowing down. On the other hand, an object that is moving with a negative acceleration, and with a negative velocity, is actually moving faster. This same basic principle is also true for positive acceleration; when the direction of velocity and acceleration are the same the object is moving faster, and when they are the opposite the object is slowing down.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.