Gravitational Acceleration


What is Gravitational Acceleration?

Gravitational acceleration, symbolized as “g,” is the force experienced by an object towards a larger mass around which it is situated. In rocketry, it stands as one of the primary factors to consider for various calculations, ranging from determining motor thrust to the overall design of the rocket’s aerodynamics.

This acceleration is measured in meters per second squared (m/s²). At sea level on Earth, gravitational acceleration is approximately 9.81 m/s². This value signifies that an object is pulled towards the ground at a rate of approximately 9.81 m/s² by the force of gravity every second. However, gravitational acceleration is not uniform everywhere on Earth. At the poles, gravitational acceleration is slightly higher than at the equator due to the Earth’s oblate spheroid shape, being slightly flattened at the poles. Hence, gravitational acceleration may vary depending on the location on Earth.


Quantities Affected by Gravitational Acceleration:

The falling speed of objects is determined by gravitational acceleration. The larger the mass of the object, the faster it falls. The liftoff and landing speeds of rockets are also influenced by gravitational acceleration. Aircraft must attain sufficient speed to overcome the force of gravity. The working principle of pendulum clocks relies on gravitational acceleration. A pendulum oscillates at a specific frequency due to the force of gravity, which is utilized in time measurement.

References & Further Reading

  1. DUTlab, DUTlab VENÜS Project, 2021


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