2404 Greensward N.
Warrington, Pa. 18976 page 1 of 9
W2gre@verizon.net
Date: March 14, 2013
Motion In a Resisting Medium
Executive Summary
This essay produces a proportionality constant to be used in equations to predict particle or
object motion in any medium without knowing mass, shape, size, inertia, smoothness of its
surface, density, and movement or pressure of the medium in which the object moves.
Main
Calculation of object or particle motion in any medium such as water, air, chemical solutions
or vapors usually requires the coefficient of drag and medium density to be known. The
equations in this essay determine distance travelled by empirically establishing velocity or
calculating velocity if distance travelled over time has been experimentally determined.
Resistance in a medium is a force. The resistance that an object experiences is determined by
mass, shape, size, inertia, smoothness of its surface, initial velocity, density, and movement
or pressure of the medium in which the object moves. All resistance factors can be
mathematically combined into a proportionality constant. Any object or particle moving in a
resisting medium will proportionally lose its velocity. At any instant with regard to time an
object will lose its velocity at a rate that is proportional to its velocity. The instantaneous loss of
velocity (in differential dot notation) can be described as:
because this is proportional to velocity
dv
v v kv
dt
 
= = =
If velocity is positive then v kv

= ÷ , v is positive but decreasing hence dv/dt must be negative.
1. Straight Line Motion
The mass of the object must equal it’s force, hence; mv kv

= ÷ dividing both sides by mass
and replacing k/m by k we obtain: v De
kt
=
÷
(equation1) where: D = initial velocity,
k = proportionality constant and t = time and e = exponential function (also known as the
Euler number 2.7182…. ect). The exponential where
u
e u kt = ÷
If x = straight line motion of distance travelled in time t, then
dx
v
dt
= so that x De
kt

=
÷
Applying the inverse of the calculus chain rule and assigning
du
k
dt
= ÷ the equation
can now be written;  
dx D
e k
dt k
kt
= ÷ ÷
÷
William Greco
2404 Greensward N.
Warrington, Pa. 18976 page 2 of 9
W2gre@verizon.net
Date: March 14, 2013
Motion In a Resisting Medium
1. Straight Line Motion (continued)
Applying
du
y e dx e c
dx
u u
= = +
}
to  
dx D
e k
dt k
kt
= ÷ ÷
÷
x distance travelled becomes:
kt
D D
x e c e c
k k
u ÷
= ÷ + = +
To determine c, measuring x at t = 0 then x = 0 so :
0 and
kt
D D D
c x e
k k k
÷
= ÷ + = ÷ + or
1
kt
D
x e
k
÷
(
= ÷
(
¸ ¸
(equation2)
Example1:
Assume a particle with an initial velocity of 100 ft/sec travelling in straight line motion
after 9.56 seconds of travel has its velocity reduced to 0. Finding (k) by equation1:
9.56
0 100 2 and 100 0
2 9.56
e k e
k
=
÷ ÷
~
By equation2 in 9.56 seconds the particle would have travelled;
2 9.56
100
1 50
2
x e feet
÷
(
= ÷ =
¸ ¸
Table1
Time (seconds) Velocity (ft/sec) Distance (feet)
0.1 81.87 9.06
0.9 16.52 41.73
1.2 9.07 45.46
2 1.83 49.08
2.5 0.67 49.66
9.56 0 50
·
0 50
William Greco
2404 Greensward N.
Warrington, Pa. 18976 page 3 of 9
W2gre@verizon.net
Date: March 14, 2013
Motion In a Resisting Medium
1. Straight Line Motion (continued)
Example2:
A car is pushed on level ground to an initial velocity of 35 ft/sec., the car coasts 204 feet in
25 seconds, k value by equation2 and velocity versus time by equation1 will be:
By equation2:
0.16906 25
35
1 204 k
0.16906
0.16906 x e feet
÷
(
= ÷
¸ ¸
~ ~
Table2
Time (seconds) Velocity (ft/sec) Distance (feet)
5 15.03 118.12
10 6.45 168.84
15 2.77 190.63
20 1.19 199.98
25 0.51 204.00
30 0.22 205.72
·
0 207.03
2. Downward Motion
Consider an object of mass m falling straight down in a resisting medium such as air,
vapor, liquid or a solid. If we assume the event to occur close to the earth’s surface (0 to
100,000 feet above sea level) the force of gravity’s acceleration will average 32.2 ft/sec
2
.
The resistance is proportional to the objects velocity. Taking the downward direction as
positive the force of gravity is +32.2m. The magnitude of resistance is kv where k is taken as
positive as it acts to resist as an upward force. Since v (velocity) is downward then the
resistance becomes –kv. The net resisting force is: 32.2mkv. Note that any k value above
1 or unity will fall below 32.2 ft/sec. k values above 1 have a considerable amount of drag.
Using dot notation for the differential of acceleration; 32.2 mv m kv

= ÷
Dividing both sides by m and replacing k/m by another constant k we have: 32.2 v kv

= ÷
The right side of the equation is dependent on v so:
1
32.2
dt
dv kv
=
÷
(equationa)
William Greco
2404 Greensward N.
Warrington, Pa. 18976 page 4 of 9
W2gre@verizon.net
Date: March 14, 2013
Motion In a Resisting Medium
2. Downward Motion (continued)
Considering:
( )
log u for 0 and log for 0 y c u y u c u = + = ÷ + ) (
(equationb)
Then the above can be expressed in the form if positive or negative u;
1
and log
dy du
y u c
dx u dx
= = +
Let u = 32.2kv
Then:
du
k
dv
= ÷
Writing in the form:  
1 1
dt
dt dt
du
k
du
dv dv k u
dv
(
(
= = = ÷
(
(
¸ ¸
Ignoring the constant
1
k
÷
for a while and applying equationb we can write:
 
1 1
log log 32 t u c kv c
k k
= ÷ + = ÷ ÷ +
Solving for v:
  log 32.2 32.2
kt kc kt kt kc
kv kt kc kv e De e e
÷ + ÷ ÷
÷ = ÷ + ÷ = = =
Where D again equals initial velocity
32.2
so
kt kc
D
v e
k k
D e
÷
= ÷ =
If the object is dropped it will have an initial v=0, t=0 and y=0 so D=32.2 and
32.2
1
kt
v e
k
÷
(
= ÷
¸ ¸
(equation3)
The falling object’s speed does not increase indefinitely, it reaches a terminal velocity, so
distance travelled or distance fallen =
32.2 32.2
=  e
kt
y
k k

÷
if t=0 and y=0 then distance of fall=
2 2
32.2 32.2 32.2
y= t e
kt
k
k k
÷
+ ÷
(equation4)
William Greco
2404 Greensward N.
Warrington, Pa. 18976 page 5 of 9
W2gre@verizon.net
Date: March 14, 2013
Motion In a Resisting Medium
2. Downward Motion (continued)
Example3
A particle is dropped into a tank containing a viscous solution that has a high specific gravity.
The particle arrives at a 2 foot depth after 1 second, the time, velocity and depth correspond to
the relationships shown in table3.
15.03 1
1
2 2 2 2 2 2
32.2 32.2 32.2 32.2 32.2 32.2 32.2 32.2 32.2
y= t e = 2= 1 e 1 e
15.03
15.03 15.03
kt k
k k
k k k k
(
(
¸ ¸
÷
÷ ÷
+ ÷ + ÷ = + ÷
The proportionality constant = 15.03 this satisfies the empirical established values of a
2 foot drop after 1 second of time.
Table3 time, velocity and depth
Time (seconds) Velocity (ft/sec) Depth (feet)
0 0 0
0.1 1.667 0.103
0.2 2.036 0.293
0.6 2.142 Terminal Velocity 1.143
1.0 2.142 Terminal Velocity 2.00
1.5 2.142 Terminal Velocity 3.071
2.0 2.142 Terminal Velocity 4.142
Example4
After falling 1.5 seconds an object attains a velocity of 47.58 ft/sec. The associated
K value is:
1.5
0.02 1.5
32.2 32.2 32.2
1 1 1 47.583 ft/sec
0.02
k
kt
v e e e
k k
(
(
(
(
¸ ¸ ¸ ¸
÷
÷
÷
(
(
(
= ÷ = ÷ = ÷ =
(
(
¸ ¸
¸ ¸ (
¸ ¸
The proportionality constant = 0.02 satisfies the empirical established values of a 47.58 ft/sec
velocity after 1.5 seconds of being dropped. The relationships are shown in table4.
Table4 time, velocity and drop
Time (seconds) Velocity (ft/sec) Drop (feet)
0 0 0
1.5 47.58 35.86
2.0 63.13 63.55
5.0 153.21 389.4
10.0
291.84
1,507.8
15.0
417.28
3,285.8
28.0
690.35 ft/sec = 470.7 mph
10,562.3
William Greco
2404 Greensward N.
Warrington, Pa. 18976 page 6 of 9
W2gre@verizon.net
Date: March 14, 2013
Motion In a Resisting Medium
3. Upward and Downward Motion
An object that has vertical movement with a specified initial velocity will encounter
resistance from the medium in the environment into which it has been projected,
it will also be affected by gravity. The object will rise and fall in relation to a constant which is
proportional to its instantaneous and initial velocities. Gravity acts continuously downward
and can be represented as 32.2m (m=mass) and the medium resistance could be written
as –kv (k= resisting constant and v=velocity). The force acting on the object at any instant
is: 32.2mkv.
Using dot notation for the differential of acceleration; 32.2 mv m kv

= ÷ ÷
Dividing both sides by m and replacing k/m by another constant k we have: 32.2 v kv

= ÷ ÷
Using equations a from page 3 the integration can be performed:
1
32.2
dt
dv kv
= ÷
+
Introducing u = 32.2 + kv =
1 1 dt du
dv k u dv
=
Using equations b from page 4 the following is written:
1
log log t u c kt c u
k
' = + = ÷ + =
Where c’ = kc and substituting u back into the equation:
log (32.2 + kc) = kt + c’
Then using the log:
32.2
kt c kt
kv e De
÷ + ÷
'
+ = = (equation c)
Where D = initial velocity and
c
D e
'
=
If t (time) =0 and the instant that the object is projected upward v = D then;
32.2 + k ( D ) = D
Substituting this into (equation c):
32.2 32.2
kt
Dk
v e
k k
÷
+
= ÷ +
(equation5)
William Greco
2404 Greensward N.
Warrington, Pa. 18976 page 7 of 9
W2gre@verizon.net
Date: March 14, 2013
Motion In a Resisting Medium
3. Upward and Downward Motion (continued)
Equation5 represents velocity as a function of time. The relation between time
and altitude above the point from where the object was launched or projected is now
to be derived. Using the variable y as altitude above the position of initial projection or
launch point and using equation5 as the differential in dot notation:
32.2 32.2
kt
Dk
e
k k
y

÷
+
= ÷ +
Integration yields:
2
32.2 32.2
kt
Dk
y t e c
k
k
÷
+
= ÷ ÷ +
At t = 0 and y = 0
2
32.2 Dk
c
k
+
=
(equationd)
Using equationd y becomes;
2
32.2 32.2
1
kt
Dk
y t e
k
k
÷
+
(
= ÷ + ÷
¸ ¸
(equation6)
Where:
D = initial upward velocity (ft/sec)
t = time (seconds)
e = exponential function (also known as the Euler number 2.7182…. ect)
k = proportionality constant
Using equation5 and 6 the following equations can be produced:
Once the k value has been experimentally obtained the time required to reach an objects
maximum altitude in time
max alt
t
÷
from launch can be calculated:
max
1
ln 1
32.2
alt
D
t k
k
÷
(
( (
+
(
( (
¸ ¸ ¸ ¸ ¸ ¸
=
(equation7) where
max alt
t
÷
is in seconds.
The maximum altitude
max
y
reached by an object is:
max
2
32
ln
32.2
D Dk
y
k
k
( (
÷
( (
¸ ¸ ¸ ¸
=
(equation8)
William Greco
2404 Greensward N.
Warrington, Pa. 18976 page 8 of 9
W2gre@verizon.net
Date: March 14, 2013
Example5:
An object is launched vertically into the air at an initial velocity of 1,000 feet per second.
The object attains an altitude of 690.8 feet 1 second after launch.
The k value for this event is (by equation6):
 
1 0.75
2 2
32.2 1000 0.75 32.2 32.2 32.2
1 1 1 690.8
0.75
0.75
kt
Dk
y t e e
k
k
(
(
¸ ¸
÷
÷
+ ( +
(
= ÷ + ÷ = ÷ + ÷ =
(
¸ ¸
¸ ¸
The proportionality constant k = 0.75 satisfies the experimentally determined results of
690.8 feet in 1 second. Table5 indicates the calculated time, velocity and altitude for
example5.
Note that any k value above 1 or unity will fall below32.2 ft/sec. k values above 0.5 have a
considerable amount of drag. Example5 shows a k value of 0.75 which indicates an object
with a high amount of drag associated with it.
Reference: Analytic Mechanics…Virgil Faires Macmillan Co. 1947
Applied Mathematics For Engineering and Science…W.Shore and G.Love
Prentice Hall 1969
Design and Analysis Of Experiments….D.Montgomery…Wiley 1984
Table5 time, velocity and altitude
Time after launch
(seconds)
Velocity
(ft/sec)
Altitude
(feet)
0 0 0
0.05 961.6 49.0
0.5 673.9 413.4
1 449.7 690.8
2
189.8
994.4
3
67.0
1115.2
4
9.0
1149.6
4.235
0
1150.7
7
37.46
1082.7
10
42.35
960.5
20
42.93 Terminal Velocity
531.9
32.389
42.93
0
William Greco
2404 Greensward N.
Warrington, Pa. 18976 Page 9 of 9
W2gre@verizon.net
Date: March 14, 2013
Addendum
The proportionality constant on other planets can be calculated by simply
substituting the 32.2 with the desired planets gravitational acceleration force.
Equations 3,4,5,6,7 and 8 require a gravitational acceleration value.
Example:
Mars has a gravitational acceleration force 38% of the Earths value.
 
0.38 32.2 12.236 =
Substituting Mars gravitational acceleration into equation3;
32.2 12.236
1 1
kt kt
Earth v e Mars v e
k k
÷ ÷
( (
¬ = ÷ ¬ = ÷
¸ ¸ ¸ ¸
Resistance proportional to the square of the velocity
For objects projected upward through a medium (such as air) that whose resistance is
proportional to the square of the velocity equations9,10 and 11 are to be used.
The k value for such a calculation has no meaning as only time (t) and initial velocity (D) have
any meaning, because the resistance of the medium has already been defined.
To calculate velocity where resistance is proportional to the square of the velocity:
 
1
32.2
tan tan 32.2
32.2
k
v D k t
k
÷
( (
= ÷
( (
(
¸ ¸ ¸ ¸
(equation9)
Where: t = time after vertical launch, D = initial velocity, v= velocity at time t (ft/sec)
k = proportionality constant (any number >0), tan
1
= arc tangent
Equation10 can be used to calculate the time required for an object to reach a maximum
altitude where resistance is proportional to the square of the velocity:
1
1
tan
32.2 32.2
RV
k
t D
k
÷
(
=
(
¸ ¸
(equation10)
Where:
RV
t = time to maximum height
Equation11 can be used to calculate the maximum altitude attained by an object that is
launched straight upward where resistance is proportional to the square of the velocity:
max
2
1
ln 1
2 32.2
k
D
k
y
(
+
(
¸ ¸
=
(equation11)