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Kinematics

Motion

An object is in motion when it is continuously changing its position relative to a reference point and as observed by a person or detection device. For example, you can see that an automobile is moving with respect to the ground. The distance the object goes in a period of time is its speed. If the speed of an object is in a specific direction, it is called velocity. The change in velocity over a period of time is the acceleration of the object.

Motion is relative

All motion is relative to the observer or to some fixed object. When you see a car drive by, it is moving with respect to you. If you are in a car that is going at the same speed, the other car will not by moving with respect to you. But both cars are moving with respect to the ground.

Point of reference

In talking about motion, it is important to indicate your point of reference. In the case of moving automobiles, it is usually assumed the speed is with respect to the ground. But there are situations where the speed or velocity may be with respect to another object or an observer. For example, suppose a car was traveling at 60 miles per hour (mph) and hit another car, but there was hardly a dent. The reason is that the second car was traveling in the same direction at 59 mph, so the car was going only 1 mph with respect to the second car when it hit it.

Sun looks like it is moving in the sky

Another example of relative motion is how the sun appears to move across the sky, when the earth is actually spinning and causing that apparent motion. Usually, we consider motion with respect to the ground or the Earth. Within the Universe there is no real fixed point. The basis for Einstein's Theory of Relativity is that all motion is relative to what you define as a fixed point.

Displacement
The displacement of an object is defined as the vector distance from some initial point to a final point. It is therefore distinctly different from the distance traveled except in the case of straight line motion. The distance traveled divided by the time is called the speed, while the displacement divided by the time defines the average velocity.

If the positions of the initial and final points are known, then the distance relationship can be used to find the displacement.

Speed and velocity

Speed is how fast an object is going with respect to an object. Velocity is a measure of the speed in a given direction. You can say the top speed of an airplane is 300 kilometers per hour (kph). But its velocity is 300 kph in a northeast direction. We distinguish between speed and velocity because if you add the speeds of objects, their directions are important. For example, the velocity of an airplane with respect to the ground would vary according to the direction of the wind.

Measurement

In order to determine how fast an object is going, you measure the time it takes to cover a given distance, using the equation d=vt Where:

d is the distance v is the speed or velocity t is the time covered

From this equation, you can get the equation for velocity as v = d/t. Velocity (v) or speed equals the distance (d) traveled divided by the time (t) it takes to go that distance.

Average Velocity, General


The average speed of an object is defined as the distance traveled divided by the time elapsed. Velocity is a vector quantity, and average velocity can be defined as the displacement divided by the time. For general cases involving non-constant acceleration, this definition must be applied directly because the straight line average velocity expressions do not work.

Relative Velocity
One must take into account relative velocities to describe the motion of an airplane in the wind or a boat in a current. Assessing velocities involves vector addition and a useful approach to such relative velocity problems is to think of one reference frame as an "intermediate" reference frame in the form:

Put into words, the velocity of A with respect to C is equal to the velocity of A with respect to B plus the velocity of B with respect to C. Reference frame B is the intermediate reference frame. This approach can be used with the airplane or boat examples.

Acceleration

Acceleration is the increase of velocity over a period of time. Deceleration is the decrease of velocity. When you start running, you accelerate (increase your velocity) until you reach a constant speed. Mathematically, acceleration is the change in velocity divided by the time for the change a = (v2 v1)/ (t2 t1) Where:

v2 v1 is the end velocity minus the beginning velocity t2 t1 is the measured time period between the two velocities

Often this is written as a = v/t, where is the Greek letter delta and stands for difference. Changing direction can also cause acceleration (or deceleration) because the velocity in that direction has changed.

Test

Bite
Set 1

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Which of the following statements is not true? a) Distance is a scalar b) Displacement is a vector. c) Distance is measured directly from the initial position to the final position. d) Displacement is measured directly from the initial position to the final position. e) Displacement and distance are measured in the same units. Distance divided by time is: a) displacement. b) average speed. c) average velocity. d) acceleration. The rate of change of velocity is: a) displacement. b) speed. c) time. d) acceleration. m/s2 is a valid unit for: a) displacement. b) velocity. c) acceleration. An automobile accelerates from 20 m/s to 50 m/s in 5.0 s. Its acceleration is: a) 6.0 m/s2 b) 14 m/s2 c) 30 m/s2 d) 70 m/s2 e) 150 m/s2 All freely falling objects dropped from the same height reach the ground: a) with the same speed. b) with the same acceleration. c) in the same amount of time. d) all of the above. e) none of the above. Constant velocity means that: a) the acceleration is positive. b) the acceleration is zero. c) the acceleration does not change d) the object is not moving. An object is thrown straight up into the air. At the very top of its path: a) the acceleration and velocity are both zero. b) the acceleration is zero and the velocity is not zero. c) the acceleration is not zero and the velocity is zero. d) neither the acceleration nor the velocity is zero.

Ans: 1-c, 2-b, 3-d, 4-c, 5-a, 6-d, 7-b, 8-c Set 2
1) When is an objects average velocity equal to its instantaneous velocity? a) Only when the velocity is constant. b) Only when the acceleration is constant. c) Never d) Always An advertisement for a car states that it can go from zero to sixty in 8 sec. This refers to its a) average speed. b) instantaneous velocity. c) average acceleration. d) instantaneous acceleration. In which of the following cases will a car move the greatest distance? a) The car travels at a constant speed v1 for t1 seconds and then accelerates to speed v2 during the next t2 seconds. b) The car accelerates from initial speed v1 to speed v2 during the first t1 seconds and then travels at constant speed v2 for the next t2 seconds. c) Both cars travel the same distance. A ball is dropped from the top of a building. One second later another ball is dropped. As they fall the difference in their speeds a) increases. b) decreases. c) remains the same. A ball is dropped from the top of a building. One second later another ball is dropped. As they fall the distance between them a) increases. b) decreases. c) remains the same. A ball is dropped from the top of a building. One second later another ball is dropped. The second ball will reach the ground a) one second after the first ball. b) more than one second after the first ball. c) less than one second after the first ball. d) One must know the height of the building to answer this question. Two balls are thrown straight up. Ball A has twice the initial speed as ball B. How much higher will ball A travel than ball B? a) twice as high b) four times as high c) as high as ball B A ball is thrown straight up. As it is rising: a) The acceleration and velocity both point up. b) The acceleration and velocity both point down. c) The velocity points up and the acceleration points down. d) The velocity points down and the acceleration points up.

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A ball is thrown straight up. As it is falling back to the ground: a) The acceleration and velocity both point up. b) The acceleration and velocity both point down. c) The velocity points up and the acceleration points down. d) The velocity points down and the acceleration points up.

Ans: 1-a, 2-c, 3-b, 4-c, 5-a, 6-a, 7-b, 8-c, 9-b Numerical Problems
1A motorbike undergoes a constant acceleration from rest and travels a distance of 60 m in 6.0 seconds. Find the acceleration of the motorbike is:

2 A car is traveling in a straight line at 25 m s-1. The car brakes for 5.0 s and the speed is reduced uniformly to 15 m s-1. How far does the car travel in this time?