Observe the motion of the projectile below. Observe that there is no horizontal acceleration. That is, the horizontal velocity does not change during the flight of the projectile. There is however a vertical acceleration. The vertical velocity of the projectile changes by 10 m/s every second. This can be verified by sliding the frame control or using the Step Forward button in the Movie Controller. The numerical display shows that every second, the vertical velocity changes by approximately 10 m/s (9.8 m/s to be exact); it could be said that the vertical acceleration of the projectile is approximately 10 m/s/s (or exactly 9.8 m/s/s).
For more information on energy concepts and principles, visit The Physics Classroom. Detailed information is available there on the following topics:
Characteristics of a Projectile's Trajectory
Describing Projectiles With Numbers
Other animations can be seen at the Multimedia Physics Studios.
© Tom Henderson, 1996-2007
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