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5 SUVAT Equations Explained – With Examples

What Are SUVAT Equations?

SUVAT equations form the cornerstone of classical mechanics, offering a mathematical framework to describe the motion of objects moving with constant acceleration in a straight line. You will need to familiarise yourself with these eqaution for your A-level physics and maths revision.The acronym “SUVAT” stands for the five variables that these equations relate: S (displacement), U (initial velocity), V (final velocity), A (acceleration), and T (time). These equations are indispensable tools in physics, providing a means to solve problems involving motion with constant acceleration without resorting to calculus.

Students Studying SUVAT Equations
Students Studying SUVAT Equations

Key Symbols

To fully grasp the SUVAT equations, it’s crucial to understand the symbols and units involved. Here’s a feature timetable that outlines each variable, its description, and the standard International System of Units (SI) used:

VariableDescriptionSI Unit
SDisplacementmetres (m)
UInitial Velocitymetres per second (m/s)
VFinal Velocitymetres per second (m/s)
AAccelerationmetres per second squared (m/s²)
TTimeseconds (s)
SUVAT Equation Symbols

The Five SUVAT Equations Explained

The SUVAT equations are:

  1. V = U + AT – This equation links the final velocity (V) to the initial velocity (U), acceleration (A), and time (T).
  2. S = (U + V)/2 * T – This calculates displacement (S) using the average of the initial and final velocities over time (T).
  3. V² = U² + 2AS – This allows us to find the final velocity squared, starting from the initial velocity squared, with consideration for acceleration and displacement.
  4. S = UT + 1/2 AT² – This equation calculates displacement as a function of initial velocity, time, and acceleration.
  5. S = VT – 1/2 AT² – A variation of the fourth, this formula calculates displacement based on final velocity, time, and acceleration.

Examples with Answers:

Example 1: A car accelerates uniformly from rest to 20 m/s over 10 seconds. What is its acceleration and how far does it travel?

  • Solution: Using the first SUVAT equation (V = U + AT), we find the acceleration. Since U = 0 (starting from rest), V = 20 m/s, and T = 10 s, we solve for A. Then, using the fourth equation (S = UT + 1/2 AT²), we can calculate the displacement.

Example 2: A ball is thrown vertically upwards with a velocity of 15 m/s. Calculate the maximum height reached.

  • Solution: Here, we use the third SUVAT equation (V² = U² + 2AS) considering V = 0 at the maximum height, U = 15 m/s, and A = -9.81 m/s² (acceleration due to gravity acting downwards).


Understanding and applying the SUVAT equations are pivotal for students studying A Level Maths and physics. They provide a systematic way to solve problems involving constant acceleration without delving into the complexities of calculus. Whether you’re solving for displacement, velocity, acceleration, or time, these equations are versatile tools in your mathematical arsenal.

Why you might want to consider tutoring – SUVAT equations are just a part of what a student needs to know for successfully passing their exams. A-level tutors provide invaluable insights and support during this overwhelming process.


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