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KINEMATICS (motion of objects without reference to the forces that cause the motion)
Distance: is the total length covered irrespective of direction of motion
Displacement (x, d, s): is the linear distance in a given direction from a reference point.
Speed: is the rate of change of distance travelled
Velocity (u or v): is the rate of change of displacement
Acceleration (a): is the rate of change of velocity
DISPLACEMENT-TIME (

) GRAPH

s
On s-t graph, gradient of s-t graph = (instantaneous) velocity

s1
C

B
A

t
J

-s2

At A: stationary, A-B: accelerating (slope increasing), B-C: moving with constant velocity
(slope constant), C-D: decelerating (slope decreasing), D-E: stationary
E-F: accelerating and moving back towards the starting point, F-G: moving with constant
velocity, At G momentarily at the starting point,
G-H: moving away from the starting point with constant velocity in the opposite direction to the
original direction, H-I: decelerating, At I momentarily stationary, I-J: accelerating and moving
back towards the starting point, J-K: decelerating, At K: stationary at the starting point.
At the end of the period under consideration the engine is back at its starting point and therefore
has zero displacement; the distance it has travelled, however, is 2s 1+2s2
Average velocity =
Uniform velocity means displacement changes by equal amounts in equal intervals of time
Instantaneous velocity =

or

in calculus notation

VELOCITY-TIME (

) GRAPH

On v-t graph, gradient of v-t graph = acceleration


area under v-t graph = change in displacement

v
C

A1
E

0 A

A2
G

A-B: moves from rest with a constant acceleration


B-C: velocity still increasing, acceleration decreasing
C-D: moving with constant velocity
D-E: decelerating at a constant rate. Comes to rest.
E-F: stationary
F-G: moving in the opposite direction to the original direction. Acceleration constant.
G-H: constant velocity
H-I: decelerating at a constant rate. Comes to rest
Total distance moved = A1 +A2. Net distance moved (e.g magnitude of displacement =A1-A2)
Note: (i)
(ii) Instantaneous acceleration at time t
gradient of tangent to curve at time t
rise

Acceleration of free fall ( )


In free fall condition, only gravity acts and there is no air resistance.
Close to Earths surface, any object has an acceleration of g = 9.81 ms-2
fall
a=g

a=-g

gravity

GRAPHICAL REPRESENTATION OF MOTION


e.g 1: Ball thrown upwards at velocity v:
max. point

speed

velocity
+ v-

R
v

R t2

t1

-v

Take upwards
+,
R = height ball
rises,
t1 = time taken
to reach
maximum
point,
t2 = 2t1 = time
taken to return
to starting point

time

distance

displacement

t1

time

t2

2R

t1

t2

time

e.g 2: Ball released from rest and bounced off the ground:
Take downwards +

t1

t2

v
v1

h0

h0
v2

h1

h1

-v2

v1

displacement

H
s
y

H
y

time

time

e.g 3: Ball bounces off the ground several times:


A ball is released from rest above a horizontal rigid
surface and bounces off several times. Sketch a
graph to show (i) how the velocity v of the ball
varies with time t, (ii) how the displacement s of the
ball from the point of release varies with time t, (iii)
how the acceleration a of the ball varies with time t.

ground
Level

Because of loss of energy v1 > v2 > v3 >


v4
s1 = displacement measure from point of release
s2 = displacement measure from ground level
Take downwards +
Explaining the spike in a-t graph:
When the ball is in the air (either moving up or
down), the only force acting on the ball is weight
(downwards). Since F = ma, the direction of
acceleration is the same as the direction of the net
force acting on the ball (downwards), hence
positive at 9.81 ms-2.
At the instant when the ball collide with the ground,
there is an additional normal contact force on the
ball by the ground, hence the net force on ball is
upwards. Therefore acceleration is upwards,
which is negative as it is in the opposite direction of
the reference direction. Once the ball leaves the
ground, net force is weight downwards, hence is
positive again.

EQUATIONS OF MOTION FOR UNIFORMLY ACCELERATION MOTION IN A


STRAIGHT LINE
velocity

u = Initial velocity (velocity at time = 0)


v = final velocity (velocity at time t)
t = time taken
<v> = average velocity
s = displacement in time t

time

1.

derived from the definition of

2.

derived from s = area under v-t graph

3.
4.

derived from equations (1) and (2)


derived from equations (1) and (2) or (3)

Note: These equations apply only if the motion takes place along a straight line and the
acceleration is constant (e.g in the case where air resistance is neglected)
EXPERIMENT TO DETERMINE THE ACCELERATION OF FREE-FALL USING A
FALLING BODY
Steel ball is dropped from rest. The electronic timer starts when the ball is released by opening
switch and stops when it breaks the contact plates. The time t measured is the time the ball takes
to fall through h metres. From
,
Vary h and measure t. Plot a graph of h against t2.
Average value of g = 2 gradient
Electromagnet
ball

timer

contact
plates

MOTION DUE TO A UNIFORM VELOCITY IN ONE DIRECTION AND A UNIFORM


ACCELERATION IN A PERPENDICULAR DIRECTION - projectile motion
A body projected through a gravitational field will describe a projectile motion if only gravity
acts on it. In parabolic motion, the force acting on a body is constant in magnitude and direction.
There are three cases of projectile motion:
First case: projected vertically (horizontal velocity zero)
Take upward motion positive.
Vertical components

Horizontal components

ay = - g
vy = u-gt
sy = ut - gt2

ax= 0
vx = 0
sx = 0

Second case: A body projected horizontally with a constant velocity u (initial vertical
velocity zero)
Ignoring air resistance, the horizontal velocity component vx remains constant and its horizontal
acceleration component ax is zero as gravity acts vertically downwards. The vertical velocity
component vy which is initially zero increases at a rate of 9.8 ms -2. A stroboscope can picture the
path of the projectile at regular time interval t. This gives multiflash photographs.

2t

3t
x-axis

y-axis

vx

Take downwards positive.


Vertical components

Horizontal components

ay = g
vy = 0
ay = + g
v = u + at
vy = gt
s = ut + at2
sy = 0 + gt2
sy = gt2

ax = 0
vx = u
ax = 0

Initially (t = 0)

At time t

vx = u (constant)
sx = ut

Note: Only t is a scalar (no direction), i.e. common to both x- and y-directions.
Third case: A body projected with a velocity

at an angle to the horizontal

Velocity u is resolved into its two perpendicular components vx and vy.


vy

vx

usin

sy
ucos

-usin
t
vy

vx

sx

sy

sx

ax

ay

T = time of flight
R = range
H = maximum height

t
-g
t

Take upwards positive:

at all times
Initially, t = 0
At time = t
At maximum point/height

Along horizontal direction

Along vertical direction

ax= 0
vx= u (constant)
vx= ucos
vx= ucos
sx = (ucos)t
vx= ucos

ay = - g
vy varies by g
vy= usin
vy= usin-gt
sy = (usin)t - g t2
vy=0

Projectile motion with air resistance:


without air resistance
(parabola shape)
with
air resistance

Important note about Projectile:


(1) There is no need to remember the equations for H and R.
(2) All problems on projectile can be solved using the rectilinear equations.
(3) When using the rectilinear equations, take note of the direction.
Consider only one direction for any one equation.
(4) Time is the only quantity that is common for both x- and y- directions.