In order to fully enter into the meaning of the term centripetal acceleration, the first thing to do is determine its etymological origin. In this regard we can highlight the following:
-Acceleration derives from Latin, specifically "acceleratio", which is the action that is to increase the speed. It is the result of the sum of three components: the prefix "ad-", which can be translated as "towards"; the adjective "celer", which is synonymous with "fast"; and the suffix "-cion", which indicates "action and effect".
-Centrípeta, on the other hand, comes from Latin too, from "centripetus".
Acceleration is the process and the result of accelerating : make the speed increase. Acceleration is also the magnitude which reflects the increase in speed in a temporary unit.
Centripetal is what attracts him center or that moves towards him. The idea of center, on the other hand, can be used with reference to the point that is in the middle of something, equidistant from the edges or boundaries.
Is called centripetal acceleration to magnitude that is linked to the modification of the address of the speed of a body that moves along a path of type curved . Given this trajectory, the centripetal acceleration is directed to the center of curvature of the path in question.
It is important to keep in mind that when an object travels in a curvilinear trajectory, its speed always experience changes of direction, even when the speed is constant. This is because the direction, beyond speed, is never constant.
In other words: a body can make a Uniform circular motion , maintaining a constant speed while making a circular path. However, despite the constant speed, its speed is not constant because it is a magnitude that is tangent to the trajectory, and it changes its direction repeatedly while making the circle.
Centripetal acceleration, therefore, does not change the speed module, but does alter its direction , enabling the development of the trajectory .
When we talk about centripetal acceleration, another type of acceleration, the centrifuge, always comes to mind irremediably. This new term is used to refer to the acceleration that bodies acquire as a result of what is known as the effect of centrifugal force. This force is defined as a dummy type that occurs when the displacement of any object in a reference system, which is in rotation, is described.
From the latter we can highlight the following data of interest:
-It is totally radial, perpendicular to what is the movement of the body.
-It is identified by the fact that it is directed outwards.
-It can be broken down into two: the component in what is the radial direction and the component in the north-south direction.
-It increases as it does what is said centrifugal force.