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# Mechanisms of Machinery Instructor: Robel Metiku

## NORMAL AND TANGENTIAL ACCELERATION

The velocity of a point moving in a general path can change in two independent ways.
The magnitude or the direction of the velocity vector can change over time. Thus,
acceleration is commonly separated into two elements: normal and tangential
components. The normal component is created as a result of a change in the direction
of the velocity vector. The tangential component is formed as a result of a change in the
magnitude of the velocity vector.

Tangential Acceleration
For a point on a rotating link, little effort is required to determine the direction of these
acceleration components. The instantaneous velocity of a point on a rotating link is
perpendicular to a line that connects that point to the center of rotation. Any change in
the magnitude of this velocity creates tangential acceleration, which is perpendicular to
the line that connects the point with the center of rotation. The magnitude of the
tangential acceleration of point A on a rotating link 2 can be expressed as:

(5.1)
It is extremely important to remember that the angular acceleration, , in equation (5.1)
must be expressed as units of radians per squared second. The tangential acceleration
acts in the direction of motion when the velocity increases or the point accelerates.
Conversely, tangential acceleration acts in the opposite direction of motion when the
velocity decreases or the point decelerates.

Normal Acceleration
Any change in velocity direction creates normal acceleration, which is always directed
toward the center of rotation. Figure 5.1a illustrates a link rotating at constant speed.
The velocity of point A is shown slightly before and after the configuration under
consideration, separated by a small angle d2. Because the link is rotating at constant
speed, the magnitudes of VA and VA are equal. Thus, VA = VA.

## MfM ATTC, MTD Page 1

Mechanisms of Machinery Instructor: Robel Metiku

Figure 5.1b shows a velocity polygon, vectorally solving for the change in velocity, dv.
Notice that the change of the velocity vector, dv, is directed toward the center of link
rotation. In fact, the normal acceleration will always be directed toward the center of link
rotation. This is because, as the point rotates around a fixed pivot, the velocity vector
will change along the curvature of motion. Thus, the normal vector to this curvature will
always be directed toward the fixed pivot.
In Figure 5.1a, because is small, the following relationship can be stated:

Because acceleration is defined as the time rate of velocity change, both sides should
be divided by time derivative:

Using the relationships between the magnitude of the linear velocity and angular
velocity, the following equations for the magnitude of the normal acceleration of a point
can be derived:

.. (5.2)

.. (5.3)

## MfM ATTC, MTD Page 2

Mechanisms of Machinery Instructor: Robel Metiku

Total Acceleration
Acceleration analysis is important because inertial forces result from accelerations.
These loads must be determined to ensure that the machine is adequately designed to
handle these dynamic loads. Inertial forces are proportional to the total acceleration of a
body. The total acceleration, A, is the vector resultant of the tangential and normal
components. Mathematically, it is expressed as:

.. (5.4)
Example 1
The mechanism shown below is used in a distribution center to push boxes along a
platform and to a loading area. The input link is driven by an electric motor, which, at the
instant shown, has a velocity of 25 rad/s and accelerates at a rate of 500 rad/s2.
Knowing that the input link has a length of 250 mm, determine the instantaneous
acceleration of the end of the input link in the position shown.

Relative Acceleration
As with velocity, the following notation is used to distinguish between absolute and
relative accelerations:
AA = absolute acceleration (total) of point A
AB = absolute acceleration (total) of point B
AB/A = relative acceleration (total) of point B with respect to A
= acceleration (total) of point B as observed from point A

The relationship between absolute velocity and relative velocity can be written as:

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Mechanisms of Machinery Instructor: Robel Metiku

Taking the time derivative of the relative velocity equation yields the relative
acceleration equation. This can be written mathematically as:

.. (5.5)
Typically, it is more convenient to separate the total accelerations in equation (5.5) into
normal and tangential components. Thus, each acceleration is separated into its two
components, yielding the following:

. (5.6)
Note that equations (5.5) and (5.6) are vector equations and the techniques discussed
in Chapter 3 and 4 must be used in dealing with these equations.
Example 2
The Figure below shows a power hacksaw. At this instant, the electric motor rotates
counterclockwise and drives the free end of the motor crank (point B) at a velocity of 12
in./s. Additionally, the crank is accelerating at a rate of 37 rad/s 2. The top portion of the
hacksaw is moving toward the left with a velocity of 9.8 in./s and is accelerating at a rate
of 82 in./s2. Determine the relative acceleration of point C with respect to point B.

## Components of Relative Acceleration

The acceleration of points on a mechanism can be much more easily analyzed when
separated into normal and tangential components. For links that are attached directly to
the frame, the direction of the acceleration components is obvious: the normal
component is always directed to the center of rotation, and the tangential component is
perpendicular to the normal component and in the direction that is consistent with either
the acceleration or deceleration of the point.

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Mechanisms of Machinery Instructor: Robel Metiku

## Tangential acceleration is in the direction of motion when the point accelerates.

Conversely, tangential acceleration is opposite to the direction of motion when the point
decelerates.
For points that are on the same link, a link that is not directly attached to the frame, the
analysis focuses on the relative accelerations of these points. Figure 5.2 shows such a
link that is not directly attached to the frame, typically called a floating link. The relative
acceleration between two points that reside on that link is shown. Notice that the normal
and tangential components of this acceleration are also shown and are directed along
the link (normal) and perpendicular to the link (tangential). Reiterating, the relative
acceleration of two points is the acceleration of one point as seen from the other
reference point.

## Figure 5.2 Relative Normal and Tangential Accelerations

As with velocity analysis, relative motion consists of pure relative rotation of the
observed point about the reference point. In other terms, the relative motion of B with
respect to A is visualized as if point B were rotating around point A. Thus, a normal
component of relative acceleration is directed toward the center of relative rotation, or
the reference point. The tangential relative acceleration is directed perpendicular to the
normal relative acceleration. The magnitudes of these components are computed in a
similar fashion to the absolute acceleration of points rotating around fixed points.

(5.7)

.. (5.8)

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Mechanisms of Machinery Instructor: Robel Metiku

The direction of the relative tangential acceleration is consistent with the angular
acceleration of the floating link, and vice versa. Referring to Figure 5.2, the relative
tangential acceleration shows the tangential acceleration of point B as it rotates around
point A directed upward and toward the right, which infers a clockwise angular

Example 3
For the power hacksaw in Example 2, determine the angular acceleration of the 6-in.

## Relative Acceleration Analysis: Analytical Method

The strategy for analytically determining the acceleration of various points on a
mechanism involves sketching vector polygons only roughly. The magnitude and angles
can be solved using trigonometry. The most effective manner of presenting the
analytical method of acceleration analysis is through an example.

Example 4
The mechanism shown in the Figure below is used to feed cartons to a labeling
machine and, at the same time, to prevent the stored cartons from moving down. At full
speed, the driveshaft rotates clockwise with an angular velocity of 200 rpm. At the
instant shown, determine the acceleration of the ram and the angular acceleration of the
connecting rod.

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Mechanisms of Machinery Instructor: Robel Metiku

## ALGEBRAIC SOLUTIONS FOR COMMON MECHANISMS

Slider Crank Mechanism
A general slider-crank mechanism is shown in Figure 5.3 below and is uniquely defined
with dimensions L1, L2, and L3. With one degree of freedom, the motion of one link must
be specified to drive the other links. Most often the crank is driven and 2, 2, and 2
acceleration equations (as a function of 2, 2, and 2) are available.

## Figure 5.3 Offset Slider Crank and Four Bar Mechanisms

As presented in Chapter 3, the position equations include:

equation

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Mechanisms of Machinery Instructor: Robel Metiku

## Four Bar Mechanism

A general four-bar mechanism is shown in Figure 5.3 and is uniquely defined with
dimensions L1, L2, L3, and L4. With one degree of freedom, the motion of one link must
be specified to drive the other links. Most often the crank is driven and 2, 2, and 2