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Introduction to Projectile Motion Learning Goal: To understand the basic concepts of projectile motion. Projectile motion may seem rather complex at first. However, by breaking it down into components , you will find that it is really no different than the one-dimensional motions that you have already studied. One of the most often used techniques in physics is to divide two- and three-dimensional quantities into components. For instance, in projectile motion, a particle has some initial velocity . In general, this velocity can point in any direction on the xy plane and can have any magnitude. To make a problem more managable, it is common to break up such a quantity into its x component and its y component . Consider a particle with initial velocity that has magnitude 12.0 and is directed 60.0 above the negative x axis. Part A What is the x component of ? Express your answer in meters per second. ANSWER: =-6.00 Correct Part B What is the y component of ? Express your answer in meters per second. ANSWER: 10.4 Correct Breaking up the velocities into components is particularly useful when the components do not affect each other. Eventually, you will learn about situations in which the components of velocity do affect one another, but for now you will only be looking at problems where they do not. So, if there is acceleration Introduction to Projectile Motion in the x direction but not in the y direction, then the x component of the velocity will change, but the y component of the velocity will not. Part C Look at this applet . The motion diagram for a projectile is displayed, as are the motion diagrams for each component. The x-component motion diagram is what you would get if you shined a spotlight down on the particle as it moved and recorded the motion of its shadow. Similarly, if you shined a spotlight to the left and recorded the particle's shadow, you would get the motion diagram for its y component. How would you describe the two motion diagrams for the components? ANSWER: Both the vertical and horizontal components exhibit motion with constant nonzero acceleration. The vertical component exhibits motion with constant nonzero acceleration, whereas the horizontal component exhibits constant-velocity motion. The vertical component exhibits constant-velocity motion, whereas the horizontal component exhibits motion with constant nonzero acceleration. Both the vertical and horizontal components exhibit motion with constant velocity. Correct As you can see, the two components of the motion obey their own independent kinematic laws. For the vertical component, there is an acceleration downward with magnitude . Thus, you can calculate the vertical position of the particle at any time using the standard kinematic equation . Similarly, there is no acceleration in the horizontal direction, so the horizontal position of the particle is given by the standard kinematic equation . ... View Full Document