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MMB222 Dynamics Kinematics of particle:

Position, displacement, velocity, acceleration One dimensional motion Graphical methods

Prof. Jacek Uziak

Kinematics deals with the concepts needed to describe motion Displacement or position: Dimension [L], SI unit meter(m)
Velocity: Dimension [L/T], SI unit meters/second (m/s) Acceleration: Dimension [L/T2], SI unit meters/second-squared (m/s2) (Dynamics deals with the effect that forces have on motion)

First consideration: one dimensional motion (position, velocity, acceleration)

Note: in one dimension, there is little practical difference between vectors and scalars, so often people dispense with vector notation. However, to help remember what the conceptual nature of vector objects are, full vector notation will be used as much as possible.

To be able to find body position being given its acceleration & starting position or Determine acceleration if position is given as a function of time

One Dimensional Motion

The motion of a particle P along a straight line is O termed rectilinear motion. x x To define the position P of the particle on that line, we choose a fixed origin O and a positive direction. The distance x from O to P, with the appropriate sign, completely defines the position of the particle on the line and is called the position coordinate of the particle.

Displacement is a vector that points from an objects initial to final position, and whose magnitude is the distance between initial and final positions.





We typically (but not always!) precede a symbol with a delta ( ) to denote that it is the change, or difference in the quantity we are referring to



t t2 t1
v va vb

Average Speed and Velocity

average speed =

total distance elapsed time


x t
x t

x2 x1 t 2 t1
x2 x1 t2 t1

displacement vector average velocity = elapsed time

i.e. the average speed is the magnitude

of the average velocity vector

The space shuttle travels at an average speed of 7.6x103 m/s. The blink of an eye is roughly 100 ms. How far does the shuttle travel in the blink on an eye? Answer


Instantaneous velocity
the instantaneous velocity of an object is its velocity vector at a given instant in time can be calculated by measuring the average displacement over a small time interval t, and taking the limit as t goes to zero: Limits are the starting point


t 0

x t

in the mathematics of calculus. Calculus is needed to handle continuously changing velocities.



P x

The instantaneous velocity v of the particle is equal to the time derivative of the position coordinate x,
dx v= dt

O x +

P x

dx v= dt

The velocity v is represented by algebraic number which can be positive or negative. A positive value for v indicates that the particle moves in the positive direction, and a negative value that it moves in the negative direction.

A bus makes a trip according to the following position vs. time diagram. a) What is the final displacement of the bus? Answer:

Example: graphical analysis of velocity

60 50 40 30 20



b) what is the instantaneous velocity at 3 hours after the start of the trip? Answer: v 10km / h c) what is the average velocity over the first 3 hours of the trip? Answer: 0!
t 3h

0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6

t (hours )

acceleration is the change of velocity with respect to time
acceleration is a vector: it has a magnitude and a direction v v v 2 1 average acceleration: aavg

t2 t1

instantaneous acceleration:



t 0

v t

The instantaneous acceleration a is obtained by differentiating v with respect to t,

dv a= dt

d 2x a= 2 dt

We can also express a as dv a=v dx


O -

x +

d 2x dv a= 2 a= dt dt dv a=v dx

The acceleration a is represented by algebraic number - positive or negative. A positive value for a, means that the particle is truly accelerated (i.e., moves faster) in the positive direction.

A negative value for a is subject to a similar interpretation.


Note that the acceleration and velocity of an object can have different magnitudes and directions at the same instant of time
a stopped car at a red light has zero acceleration and zero velocity when the light goes green and the gas pedal is pressed, the instant before starting to move the car has zero velocity but a positive acceleration driving at a constant velocity, the car has zero acceleration slowing down to stop at a red light, the car has a negative acceleration (i.e. deceleration) but positive velocity

Equations of kinematics for constant acceleration Given an object moving with a constant acceleration, we want to know its kinematical properties

acceleration (easy, its a constant!) velocity position

as a function of time

Two types of motion are frequently encountered: uniform rectilinear motion, in which the velocity v of the particle is constant and and uniformly accelerated rectilinear motion, in which the acceleration a of the particle is constant and v = vo + at 1 x = xo + vot + 2 at2
2 v2 = vo + 2 a (x - x o )

x = xo + vt

A speeding motorist zips past a cop at 200km/h. The cop, initially moving at 50km/h, gives chase and accelerates with a constant acceleration of 1m/s2.
i) how long does it take the cop to catch the motorist? Answer: 83.34s ii) how fast is the cop going when he/she does catch up? Answer: 350 km/h (!)

A spacecraft is traveling at a constant velocity of 3250m/s. It suddenly fires its retrorockets, and starts decelerating at 10m/s2. What is the velocity of the craft when its displacement is 215km relative to the place where it first fired the retrorockets?

2.5 10 m / s

Note: 2 answers! Does this make sense!!? (yes)


Gravity and freely falling objects

The earth exerts a gravitational force on objects
the magnitude of this force is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the center of the earth. however, we are quite far from the center of the earth (6400km), so the difference in the magnitude of the force between, say sea level, and Mount Everest (9km above sea level), is negligible for most purposes

therefore by Newtons 2nd law: force = mass x acceleration, since the force of gravity is effectively a constant, so is the acceleration due to this force

Gravity and freely falling objects

Therefore, the kinematics of an object in free-fall near the surface of the earth is governed by the equations of constant acceleration The local magnitude of the acceleration due to gravity is traditionally denoted by g, and is:

g 9.81m / s

Note: 3 significant figures!

The direction of the acceleration is towards the center of the earth


A rock is dropped from the top of a 10 story building (30m).
i) How long does it take to reach the ground? Answer: 2.47s ii) how fast is it going when it hits the ground? Answer: 24.23 m/s


Standing next to the edge of a cliff, a person fires two shots from a gun, one (a) straight upward, the other, (b) straight downward. The gun shoots pellets at 30m/s from the barrel. Ignoring air resistance, in which scenario (a) or (b) does the pellet hit the ground at the bottom of the cliff with the greatest velocity?



Graphical analysis of velocity and acceleration

Consider graphs of the position or velocity of an object as a function of time: x=x(t), v=v(t)

Constant velocity example

Constant acceleration example

Notice that in these constant velocity/acceleration cases, the velocity is the slope of the x vs. t graph, and the acceleration is the slope of the v vs. t graph.

Graphical analysis of velocity and acceleration In more general cases, this observation remains true:
instantaneous velocity at time t is the slope, or tangent line of the trajectory x(t) (position vs. time) at the time t
instantaneous acceleration at time t is the slope, or tangent line of the curve v(t) (velocity vs. time) at the time t

The graphical solution involves x - t, v - t , and a - t curves.


At any given time t,

v = slope of x - t curve a = slope of v - t curve
t1 t2


v2 v1

v 2 - v1 =

a dt

while over any given time interval t1 to t2,

v2 - v1 = area under a - t curve x2 - x1 = area under v - t curve


x2 x1


t x2 - x 1 =
t2 t1

v dt