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Motion in One Dimension

Describes motion while ignoring the external agents that might have
caused or modified the motion
For now, will consider motion in one dimension
Along a straight line
Motion represents a continual change in an objects position.

Particle Model
We will use the particle model.
A particle is a point-like object; has mass but infinitesimal size

Types of Motion

An example is a car traveling on a highway.
An example is the Earths spin on its axis.
An example is the back-and-forth movement of a pendulum.
The objects position is its location with respect to a chosen reference point.
Consider the point to be the origin of a coordinate system.
Only interested in the cars translational motion, so model as a particle
Displacement is defined as the change in position during some time
Represented as x
x xf - xi
SI units are meters (m)
x can be positive or negative
Different than distance
Distance is the length of a path followed by a particle.
Distance vs. Displacement An Example
Assume a player moves from one end
of the court to the other and back.
Distance is twice the length of the
Distance is always positive
Displacement is zero
x = xf xi = 0 since xf = xi

x = + 2.5 m

Position-Time Graph
The position-time graph shows the motion of the particle (car).
The smooth curve is a guess as to what happened between the data points.

The table gives the actual data collected during the motion of the object (car).
Positive is defined as being to the right.
Distance and Position-time graph

Displacement in space Displacement is

not Distance.
From A to B: x = xB xA = 52 m 30 m = 22 m
From A to C: x = xc xA = 38 m 30 m = 8 m

Distance is the length of a path followed by a particle

from A to B: d = |xB xA| = |52 m 30 m| = 22 m
from A to C: d = |xB xA|+ |xC xB| = 22 m + |38 m 52 m| = 36 m
x x f xi
Average Velocity vavg
t t

Average speed

Not necessarily that Savg is

close to Vavg:
Savg = (6m + 6m)/(3s+3s) = 2
avg = (0 m)/(3s+3s) = 0 m/s

(i) The Displacement

(ii) The average velocity

(iii) The average speed

Sam starts at a position x(t=0) = 1.5 m.
At t=2.0 s, Sams position is x(t=2 s)=4.5 m
At t=4.0 s, Sams position is x(t=4 s)=-2.5 m

a) What is Sams average velocity between t=0 and t=2 s?

b) What is Sams average velocity between t=2 and t=4 s?
c) What is Sams average velocity between t=0 and t=4 s?
Instantaneous Velocity

The limit of the average velocity as the time interval becomes infinitesimally
short, or as the time interval approaches zero.
The instantaneous velocity indicates what is happening at every point of time.

x dx
x lim
t 0 t dt
Instantaneous Velocity, graph

The instantaneous velocity is the

slope of the line tangent to the x vs. t
This would be the green line.
The light blue lines show that as t
gets smaller, they approach the green
Graphical Representation of Instantaneous Velocity

v lim = Slope of tangent at that point
t 0 t
In General: Velocity
Velocity is the rate of change of position.
Velocity is a vector quantity.
Velocity has both magnitude and direction. displacement
Velocity has a unit of [length/time]: meter/second.


We will be concerned with three quantities, defined as:
Average velocity x x f xi

0td t
t t

Average speed

velocity displacement
Ex.2.3 A particle moves along x- axis. Its position
varies with time according to the expression x=-4t+2t2.
(A) Determine the displacement of the particle in time
intervals t=0s to t=1s and t=1s to t=3s.

From the graph also give the same result

For first interval

For second interval

(C) Instantaneous velocity

Or better directly by taking the derivative and substituting

x 4 4t 4 4(2.5) 6 m / s

Suppose the motion of a particle is described by the

equation: X = 20t + 4 t2

1.Find the displacement of the particle in the time interval

t1=2 s to t2=5 s ?
1.Find the average velocity of the particle in the time interval
t1=2 s to t2=5 s ?
1.Find the instantaneous velocity of the particle at t=3s
Model: A Particle Under Constant Velocity

Constant velocity indicates the instantaneous velocity at any instant during a

time interval is the same as the average velocity during that time interval.
vx = vx, avg
The mathematical representation of this situation is the equation.

x x f x i
x or x f x i x t
t t

Common practice is to let ti = 0 and the equation becomes: xf = xi + vx t

(for constant vx)
Particle Under Constant Velocity, Graph

The graph represents the motion of a

particle under constant velocity.
The slope of the graph is the value of
the constant velocity.
The y-intercept is xi.
Model: A Particle Under Constant Speed

A particle under constant velocity moves with a constant speed along a straight
A particle can also move with a constant speed along a curved path.
This can be represented with a model of a particle under constant speed.
The primary equation is the same as for average speed, with the average speed
replaced by the constant speed.


Average Acceleration


t ttf i
Acceleration is the rate of change of the velocity.

x x
f xi
Dimensions are L/T2
SI units are m/s
In one dimension, positive and negative can be used to indicate
Instantaneous Acceleration

The instantaneous acceleration is the limit of the average acceleration as

t approaches 0.

v x dv x d 2 x
ax lim 2
t 0 t dt dt

The term acceleration will mean instantaneous acceleration.

If average acceleration is wanted, the word average will be included.
Instantaneous Acceleration graph

The slope of the velocity-

time graph is the
The green line
represents the
The blue line is the
average acceleration.
Graphical Comparison, Ex.2.5

Given the displacement-time graph (a)

The velocity-time graph is found by
measuring the slope of the position-
time graph at every instant.
The acceleration-time graph is found by
measuring the slope of the velocity-time
graph at every instant.
Example: 2.6 The velocity of a particle moving along the x axis
varies according to the expression v = 40 - 5t 2, where
v is in meters per second and t is in seconds.

(A) Find the average acceleration in the time interval t = 0 to t = 2.0 s.

(B) Determine the acceleration at t = 2.0 s.


A particle is moving in a straight line. Its displacement at any instant t

is given by x = 10t+15t3, where x is in meter and t is sec.
A) Find the average acceleration in the time interval t=0 to t= 2 s.
B) Find the instantaneous acceleration at t=2s
Example: (HW)
A particle is moving in a straight line. Its displacement at any
instant t is given by x = 10t+15t3, where x is in meter and t is sec.

A) Find the average acceleration in the time interval t=0 to t= 2 s.

B) Find the instantaneous acceleration at t=2s
Motion Diagrams
A motion diagram can be formed by imagining the stroboscope
photograph of a moving object.
Red arrows represent velocity.
Purple arrows represent acceleration.
Kinematic Equations

The kinematic equations can be used with any particle under uniform
The kinematic equations may be used to solve any problem involving
one-dimensional motion with a constant acceleration.
You may need to use two of the equations to solve one problem.
Many times there is more than one way to solve a problem.
Solving Problems with Eq.s of Motion

v xf v xi ax t

x 12 (v xi v xf )t 12 [v xi (v xi ax t )]t

x f x i v xi t ax t
Other Forms of Eq.s of Motion
v xf v xi ax t
x vt (v xi v xf )t
Substitute to eliminate t

2 2
(v xi v xf ) (v xf v xi ) v xf v xi
x ax x
2 ax 2 2

v xf2 v xi2 2ax (x f x i )

Galileo Galilei

1564 1642
Italian physicist and astronomer
Formulated laws of motion for objects in
free fall
Supported heliocentric universe
Freely Falling Objects

A freely falling object is any object moving freely under the influence of gravity
It does not depend upon the initial motion of the object.
Dropped released from rest
Thrown downward
Thrown upward
Acceleration of Freely Falling Object

The acceleration of an object in free fall is directed downward, regardless of the

initial motion.
The magnitude of free fall acceleration is g = 9.80 m/s2.
g decreases with increasing altitude
g varies with latitude
9.80 m/s2 is the average at the Earths surface
The italicized g will be used for the acceleration due to gravity.
Not to be confused with g for grams
Acceleration of Free Fall, cont.

We will neglect air resistance.

Free fall motion is constantly accelerated motion in one dimension.
Use model of a particle under constant acceleration
Let upward be positive
Use the kinematic equations
With ay = -g = -9.80 m/s2
Note displacement is in the vertical direction
Free Fall An Object Dropped

Initial velocity is zero

Let up be positive
Use the kinematic equations
Generally use y instead of x since
vertical vo= 0
Acceleration is
a = -g
ay = -g = -9.80 m/s 2
Free Fall An Object Thrown Downward

ay = -g = -9.80 m/s2
Initial velocity 0
With upward being positive, initial
velocity will be negative.
vo 0
a = -g
Free Fall Object Thrown Upward

Initial velocity is upward, so positive

The instantaneous velocity at the
maximum height is zero.
ay = -g = -9.80 m/s2 everywhere in the
motion vo 0
a = -g
Thrown upward, cont.

The motion may be symmetrical.

Then tup = tdown
Then v = -vo
The motion may not be symmetrical.
Break the motion into various parts.
Generally up and down
Free Fall Example

Initial velocity at A is upward (+) and

acceleration is -g (-9.8 m/s2).
At B, the velocity is 0 and the
acceleration is -g (-9.8 m/s2).
At C, the velocity has the same
magnitude as at A, but is in the
opposite direction.
The displacement is 50.0 m (it ends
up 50.0 m below its starting point).
Kinematic Equations from Calculus

Displacement equals the area under

the velocity time curve

v xn tn v x (t )dt
tn 0 ti

The limit of the sum is a definite

Kinematic Equations General Calculus Form

dv x
v xf v xi ax dt

xf xi v x dt
Kinematic Equations From Integration

The integration form of vf vi gives

v xf v xi ax t
The integration form of xf xi gives
xf xi v xi t a x t 2
General Problem Solving Strategy

In addition to basic physics concepts, a valuable skill is the ability to solve

complicated problems.
Steps in a general problem solving approach:
Problem Solving Conceptualize

Think about and understand the situation.

Make a quick drawing of the situation.
Gather the numerical information.
Include algebraic meanings of phrases.
Focus on the expected result.
Think about units.
Think about what a reasonable answer should be.
Problem Solving Categorize

Simplify the problem.

Can you ignore air resistance?
Model objects as particles
Classify the type of problem.
Try to identify similar problems you have already solved.
What analysis model would be useful?
Problem Solving Analyze

Select the relevant equation(s) to apply.

Solve for the unknown variable.
Substitute appropriate numbers.
Calculate the results.
Include units
Round the result to the appropriate number of significant figures.
Problem Solving Finalize

Check your result.

Does it have the correct units?
Does it agree with your conceptualized ideas?
Look at limiting situations to be sure the results are reasonable.
Compare the result with those of similar problems.
Problem Solving Some Final Ideas

When solving complex problems, you may need to identify sub-problems and
apply the problem-solving strategy to each sub-part.
These steps can be a guide for solving problems in this course.