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Module 1

1.1.4

Linear Motion

Candidates should be able to :

Derive the equations of motion for constant acceleration in a

straight line from a velocity-time graph.

Select and use the equations of motion for constant

acceleration in a straight line :

v = u + at s = (u + v)t s = ut + at

2

v

2

= u

2

+ 2as

Apply the equations for constant acceleration in a straight line,

including the motion of bodies falling in the Earths uniform

gravitational field without air resistance.

Explain how experiments carried out by Galileo overturned

Aristotles ideas of motion.

Describe an experiment to determine the acceleration of free

fall (g) using a falling body.

Apply the equations of constant acceleration to describe and

explain the motion of an object due to a uniform velocity in

one direction and a constant acceleration in a perpendicular

direction.

DERIVING THE EQUATIONS OF MOTION 1

Consider an object moving with an

initial velocity (u) which accelerates

with a constant acceleration (a) to

reach a final velocity (v) after a

time (t). The distance moved in

this time is (s).

This is the velocity-time graph

for the motion.

2008 FXA

EQUATION 1

Acceleration = gradient of v/t graph

a = (v - u)

t

at = v - u

v = u + at

EQUATION 2

Total displacement = average velocity x time

s = (u + v)t

UNIT G481

Module 1

1.1.4

Linear Motion

EQUATIONS OF MOTION - SUMMARY 2

These equations can also be used for objects falling without air

resistance in the Earths uniform gravitational field. Then :

a = g = acceleration due to gravity = 9.81 m s

-2

.

g is positive for objects which are initially falling.

g is negative for objects which are projected upwards.

h = vertical displacement.

PRACTICE QUESTIONS (1)

1 An aircraft accelerates uniformly from rest at 3.1 m s

-2

to reach its

take-off velocity of 100 m s

-1

.

(a) How long does it take for the aircraft to leave the ground ?

(b) How far does it travel during take-off ?

2 A motorway designer assumes that cars approaching a motorway enter

a slip road with a velocity of 8 m s

-1

and need to reach a velocity of

25 m s

-1

.

Assuming that vehicles have an acceleration of 5 m s

-2

, calculate the

minimum length for a slip road.

2008 FXA

EQUATION 3

v = u + at . (1) and s = (u + v) t .. (2)

2

Substituting (u +at) for (v) in equation (2) gives :

s = (u + u + at) t = 2ut + at

2

2 2

So,

s = ut + at

2

EQUATION 4

v = u + at , so t = (v - u)

a

Substituting for (t) in s = (u + v) t gives :

2

s = (u + v) x (v - u) = (uv - uv + v

2

- u

2

)

2 a 2a

2as = v

2

- u

2

So,

v

2

= u

2

+ 2as

v = u + at s = (u + v)t

s = ut + at

2

v

2

= u

2

+ 2as

UNIT G481

Module 1

1.1.4

Linear Motion

3 The cyclist shown in the

diagram opposite is

travelling at 15 m s

-1

.

She brakes so as to avoid

colliding with the wall.

Calculate the deceleration

needed in order to come

to rest in 18 m.

4

The car shown in the diagram above is travelling along a straight road

at 8 m s

-1

. If it accelerates uniformly at 1.5 m s

-2

over a distance

of 18 m, calculate its final velocity.

5 A lorry accelerates from rest at a steady rate of 1.2 m s

-2

.

Calculate :

(a) The time taken to reach a velocity of 15 m s

-1

.

(b) The distance travelled during this time.

(c) The velocity of the lorry when it is 100 m from the

start.

6 3

A train travelling at 20 m s

-1

accelerates uniformly at 0.75 m s

-2

for

25 s. Calculate the distance travelled by the train in this time.

7 The diagram opposite shows a

velocity-time graph for two

cars, A and B, which are moving

in the same direction over a

40 s time period.

Car A, travelling at a constant

velocity of 40 m s

-1

, overtakes

car B at time, t = 0.

In order to catch up with car A, car B immediately accelerates

uniformly for 20 s to reach a constant velocity of 50 m s

-1

.

Calculate :

(a) The distance travelled by car A during the first 20 s.

(b) Car Bs acceleration during the first 20 s.

(c) The distance travelled by car B during the first 20 s.

(d) The additional time taken for car B to catch up with

car A.

(e) The total distance each car will have

travelled.

2008 FXA

UNIT G481

Module 1

1.1.4

Linear Motion

8 A coin is dropped down a mine shaft and falls through a height of

55 m before hitting the bottom of the shaft. Assuming negligible

air resistance and taking the acceleration due to gravity (g)

as 9.81 m s

-2

, calculate :

(a) The time taken for the coin to hit the bottom.

(b) The velocity of the coin on impact.

9 A stone is projected vertically upwards from the ground with an

initial velocity of 30 m s

-1

. Assuming air resistance is negligible

and taking the acceleration due to gravity (g) as 9.81 m s

-2

,

Calculate :

(a) The maximum height reached by the stone.

(b) The total time taken to return to the ground.

10 The diagram opposite shows a

velocity-time graph for a vehicle

travelling along a straight road

for a time of 30 s.

(a) Describe the motion of the

vehicle.

(b) Use the graph to determine

the acceleration of the

vehicle over the 30 s period.

(c) Use the graph to determine the displacement of the vehicle over

the 30 s period.

(d) Check your answer to part (c) by calculating the displacement

using a suitable equation of motion.

NOTE ON NON-UNIFORM ACCELERATION 4

The EQUATIONS OF MOTION only apply to objects moving with

CONSTANT or UNIFORM ACCELERATION.

The v/t graph opposite shows

the motion of an object which

is moving with non-uniform

acceleration.

The acceleration at any time

is given by the gradient of

the v/t graph at that time.

To find the acceleration at

Any given time :

At the time in question, mark a point on the v/t graph.

Draw a tangent to the curve at that point.

Construct a large right-angled triangle and use it to

calculate the gradient.

Use the procedure outlined above to calculate the acceleration at

Point P in the v/t graph shown below.

Acceleration = = m s

-2

2008 FXA

UNIT G481

Module 1

1.1.4

Linear Motion

HOW GALILEOS EXPERIMENTS OVERTURNED

ARISTOTLES IDEAS OF MOTION

The Greek philosopher ARISTOTLE thought that a force must act all the time in order

to keep an object moving. Our own experience seems to support this idea in that a car,

for example, will slow down and eventually stop when the engine is switched off. But,

does this happen because the driving force has been switched off ? The reality is that

the slowing down and stopping occurs because there is an opposing FRICTIONAL

FORCE.

Experiments carried out by GALILEO (about 1600 years after Aristotle) showed that

Constant force is not needed to maintain motion, but force is needed to :

Start and stop motion,

Change the speed of an object,

Change the direction of an object.

GALILEOS EXPERIMENTS

Galileo simultaneously dropped two objects of different weight from the top of

the leaning Tower of Pisa and found that they hit the ground at the same time.

He concluded that any two objects will fall at the same rate, regardless of

their relative weights.

Using a dripping water clock which counted the volume of water drips as a

measure of time, Galileo was able to measure the time taken by a ball to travel

equal distances down a slope from rest. His results showed that the ball

accelerates as it rolls down the slope and that the greater the slope, the

greater is the acceleration. From this, he concluded that an object falling

vertically will accelerate.

DETERMINATION OF THE ACCELERATION OF FREE FALL (g) 5

A steel ball-bearing is held

by an electromagnet. When

the current to the magnet

is switched off, the ball is

released and the timer is

started. The ball strikes and

opens a trapdoor which then

stops the timer. The time

taken (t) for the ball to fall

through a given height (h) is

recorded. The timing is

repeated and an average

t-value is calculated.

The procedure is repeated for several different h-values and the

results are recorded in the table below :

h = ut + gt

2

And since u = 0, ut = 0

So h = g t

2

Compare y = m x + c

with

Therefore, plotting a

graph of (h) against (t

2

)

gives a best-fit, straight

line through the origin,

whose gradient = g

From which, acceleration of free fall, g = 2 x gradient of h/t

2

graph

= 2 x

= m s

-2

2008 FXA

h/m t

1

/s t

2

/s t

3

/s tav /s t

2

/s

2

UNIT G481

Module 1

1.1.4

Linear Motion

MOTION DUE TO CONSTANT VELOCITY IN ONE DIRECTION AND

A CONSTANT ACCELERATION IN A PERPENDICULAR DIRECTION

The motion of objects projected at an angle or horizontally from

some height above the ground is called PROJECTILE MOTION.

All PROJECTLIES have the following in common :

They are given some initial velocity (by kicking, firing etc.)

Throughout their flight, the only force acting (neglecting

air resistance) is their WEIGHT due to gravity, which

exerts a constant force acting vertically downwards .

This gives the projectile :

CONSTANT DOWNWARD ACCELERATION = g (9.81 m s

-2

)

Neglecting air resistance, the HORIZONTAL COMPONENT

OF VELOCITY REMAINS CONSTANT THROUGHOUT THE

MOTION and the path followed is a PARABOLA.

6

SUMMARY FOR SOLVING PROJECTILE PROBLEMS

2008 FXA

max. horizontal

displacement

maximum height

vsin

v

vcos

PARABOLA

v

Resolve the initial velocity into :

HORIZONTAL and VERTICAL COMPONENTS.

Assume NEGLIGIBLE AIR RESISTANCE

For the Horizontal Direction :

The HORIZONTAL COMPONENT of velocity remains

constant throughout the flight.

horizontal displacement = horizontal velocity x flight time

For the Vertical Direction :

The acceleration is constant, equal to g.

The equations of motion apply.

At the maximum height, vertical velocity = 0.

When the projectile has returned to the level of its launch

point :

Vertical displacement = 0

Final vertical velocity is equal, but oppositely

Directed to the initial vertical velocity.

v = u + gt h = (u + v)t

h = ut + gt

2

v

2

= u

2

+ 2gh

UNIT G481

Module 1

1.1.4

Linear Motion

Practice Questions (2)

1 A helicopter is flying in a straight line at a speed of 20 m s

-1

and at

a constant height of 180 m. A small object is released from the

helicopter and falls to the ground. Assuming air resistance is

negligible, calculate :

(a) The time taken for the object to reach the ground.

(b) The vertical component of velocity of the object when it

hits the ground.

(c) The horizontal component of velocity of the object when it

hits the ground.

(d) The horizontal displacement of the object in the time taken

to reach the ground.

2 During a European Champions League match, a free kick was taken

by Steven Gerrard and the ball was projected with a velocity of

20 m s

-1

at an angle of 35 to the pitch. Assuming that air

resistance is negligible, calculate :

(a) The initial vertical and horizontal components of velocity.

(b) The time taken for the ball to reach its maximum height.

(c) The maximum height reached by the ball.

(d) The horizontal displacement of the ball in the time taken

to return to the ground.

3 7

The diagram above shows the path of a ball that is thrown from point A

to point B. The ball reaches its maximum height at point H. The ball

is thrown with an initial velocity of 25.0 m s

-1

at 60 to horizontal.

Assume that there is no air resistance.

(a) (i) Show that the vertical component of the initial velocity is

21.7 m s

-1

.

(ii) Calculate the time taken for the ball to reach point H.

(iii) Calculate the displacement from A to B.

(b) For the path of the ball shown in the diagram, draw sketch graphs,

with labelled axes but without numerical values, to show the

variation of :

(i) The vertical component of the balls velocity against time.

(ii) The distance travelled along its path against time.

(OCR Physics AS - Module 2821 - May 2008)

2008 FXA

UNIT G481

Module 1

1.1.4

Linear Motion

HOMEWORK QUESTIONS

1 When the brakes are applied in a car which is moving at 40 m s

-1

,

the velocity is reduced to 25 m s

-1

over a distance of 140 m. If

the deceleration remains constant, what further distance will the

car travel before coming to rest ?

Sketch a velocity-time graph for the whole motion showing numerical

values on the axes.

2 Calculate the deceleration of a bullet initially travelling at 400 m s

-1

,

if it is brought to rest after travelling 10 cm through a wooden

block.

3 A hawk is hovering above a field at a height of 50 m. It sees a

Mouse directly below it and dives vertically with an acceleration of

12 m s

-2

. Calculate :

(a) The hawks velocity at the instant it reaches the mouse.

(b) The time taken to reach the mouse.

4 A train accelerates steadily from 4.0 m s

-1

to 24.0 m s

-1

in a time

of 180 s. Calculate :

(a) The trains acceleration.

(b) The average velocity of the train.

(c) The distance travelled by the train during the acceleration.

5 Traffic police investigators use the length of skid marks left on the 8

road by a decelerating vehicle in order to determine whether or not

the speed limit has been exceeded.

If the skid marks at the scene of an accident are 52m long and other

tests on the road surface show that the skidding car was decelerating

at 6.5 m s

-2

, was the car breaking the speed limit of 30 m s

-1

?

6 A sandbag is dropped from a height of 180 m, from a helicopter that

is moving vertically upwards with a velocity of 6 m s

-1

. If air

resistance is neglected, calculate :

(a) The initial velocity of the sandbag.

(b) The final velocity of the sandbag.

(c) The time taken for the sandbag to reach the ground.

7 An aid parcel is released from a plane flying horizontally at 65 m s

-1

,

at a height of 800 m above the ground.

(a) Calculate the horizontal and vertical components of the parcels

initial velocity.

(b) How long does it take for the parcel to reach the ground ?

(c) At what horizontal distance from the target should the plane be

when the parcel is released ?

2008 FXA

UNIT G481

Module 1

1.1.4

Linear Motion

8

The diagram above shows the path of a tennis ball after passing over

the net.

As it passes over the net, it is travelling at a height of 1.20 m. The

ball strikes the ground on a line which is 11.9 m from the net.

(a) Assuming air resistance to be negligible,

(i) Show that the time taken for the ball to reach the line

After passing over the net is 0.495 s.

(ii) At the instant the ball strikes the line, calculate :

1. The horizontal component of its velocity.

2. The vertical component of its velocity.

(OCR Physics AS - Module 2821 - June 2007)

9

2008 FXA

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