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  • Describe the effects of gravity on objects in motion.
  • Describe the motion of objects that are in free fall.
  • Calculate the position and velocity of objects in free fall.

Falling objects form an interesting class of motion problems. For example, we can estimate the depth of a vertical mine shaft by dropping a rock into it and listening for the rock to hit the bottom. By applying the kinematics developed so far to falling objects, we can examine some interesting situations and learn much about gravity in the process.


The most remarkable and unexpected fact about falling objects is that, if air resistance and friction are negligible, then in a given location all objects fall toward the center of Earth with the same constant acceleration , independent of their mass . This experimentally determined fact is unexpected, because we are so accustomed to the effects of air resistance and friction that we expect light objects to fall slower than heavy ones.

Positions of a feather and hammer over time as they fall on the Moon. The feather and hammer are at the exact same position at each moment in time.
A hammer and a feather will fall with the same constant acceleration if air resistance is considered negligible. This is a general characteristic of gravity not unique to Earth, as astronaut David R. Scott demonstrated on the Moon in 1971, where the acceleration due to gravity is only 1 . 67 m/s 2 size 12{1 "." "67 m/s" rSup { size 8{2} } } {} .

In the real world, air resistance can cause a lighter object to fall slower than a heavier object of the same size. A tennis ball will reach the ground after a hard baseball dropped at the same time. (It might be difficult to observe the difference if the height is not large.) Air resistance opposes the motion of an object through the air, while friction between objects—such as between clothes and a laundry chute or between a stone and a pool into which it is dropped—also opposes motion between them. For the ideal situations of these first few chapters, an object falling without air resistance or friction is defined to be in free-fall    .

The force of gravity causes objects to fall toward the center of Earth. The acceleration of free-falling objects is therefore called the acceleration due to gravity    . The acceleration due to gravity is constant , which means we can apply the kinematics equations to any falling object where air resistance and friction are negligible. This opens a broad class of interesting situations to us. The acceleration due to gravity is so important that its magnitude is given its own symbol, g size 12{g} {} . It is constant at any given location on Earth and has the average value

g = 9 . 80 m/s 2 . size 12{g=9 "." "80 m/s" rSup { size 8{2} } } {}

Although g size 12{g} {} varies from 9 . 78 m/s 2 size 12{9 "." "78 m/s" rSup { size 8{2} } } {} to {} 9 . 83 m/s 2 size 12{9 "." "83 m/s" rSup { size 8{2} } } {} , depending on latitude, altitude, underlying geological formations, and local topography, the average value of 9 . 80 m/s 2 size 12{9 "." "80 m/s" rSup { size 8{2} } } {} will be used in this text unless otherwise specified. The direction of the acceleration due to gravity is downward (towards the center of Earth) . In fact, its direction defines what we call vertical. Note that whether the acceleration a size 12{a} {} in the kinematic equations has the value + g size 12{+g} {} or g size 12{ - g} {} depends on how we define our coordinate system. If we define the upward direction as positive, then a = g = 9 . 80 m/s 2 size 12{a= - g= - 9 "." "80 m/s" rSup { size 8{2} } } {} , and if we define the downward direction as positive, then a = g = 9 . 80 m/s 2 size 12{a=g=9 "." "80 m/s" rSup { size 8{2} } } {} .

Questions & Answers

the range of objects and phenomena studied in physics is
Bethel Reply
what is Linear motion
Hamza Reply
straight line motion is called linear motion
then what
linear motion is a motion in a line, be it in a straight line or in a non straight line. It is the rate of change of distance.
your are wrong Saeedul
Linear motion is a one-dimensional motion along a straight line, and can therefore be described mathematically using only one spatial dimension
what is the formula to calculate wavelength of the incident light
David Reply
if a spring is is stiffness of 950nm-1 what work will be done in extending the spring by 60mmp
Hassan Reply
State the forms of energy
Samzy Reply
Word : Mechanical wave Definition : The waves, which need a material medium for their propagation, e.g., Sound waves. \n\nOther Definition: The waves, which need a material medium for their propagation, are called mechanical waves. Mechanical waves are also called elastic waves. Sound waves, water waves are examples of mechanical waves.t Definition: wave consisting of periodic motion of matter; e.g. sound wave or water wave as opposed to electromagnetic wave.h
Clement Reply
what is mechanical wave
Akinpelu Reply
a wave which require material medium for its propagation
The S.I unit for power is what?
Samuel Reply
Am I correct
it can be in kilowatt, megawatt and so
OK that's right
SI.unit of power is.watt=j/c.but kw.and Mw are bigger.umots
What is physics
aish Reply
study of matter and its nature
The word physics comes from a Greek word Physicos which means Nature.The Knowledge of Nature. It is branch of science which deals with the matter and energy and interaction between them.
why in circular motion, a tangential acceleration can change the magnitude of the velocity but not its direction
Syafiqah Reply
because it is balanced by the inward acceleration otherwise known as centripetal acceleration
What is a wave
Mutuma Reply
Tramsmission of energy through a media
is the disturbance that carry materials as propagation from one medium to another
mistakes thanks
find the triple product of (A*B).C given that A =i + 4j, B=2i - 3j and C = i + k
Favour Reply
Difference between north seeking pole and south seeking pole
Stanley Reply
if the earth Suddenly contract s then
Swami Reply
please formula for density is what
what is motion
Nelson Reply
In physics, motion is the change in position of an object with respect to its surroundings in a given interval of time. Motion is mathematically described in terms of displacement, distance, velocity, acceleration, time, and speed. ... Momentum is a quantity which is used for measuring the motion of
Practice Key Terms 2

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