Motion of a Projectile Thrown from an Elevated Platform

contributed by Michael Thackston

Department of Physics

Southern Polytechnic University, Marietta, GA

The motion of a projectile is controlled by Newton's first law

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Here, the acceleration, a, is given by a combination of the initial force applied to the projectile, which propels it forward and up, and gravity, which propels it down until it hits the ground.

Initial speed

(m/s)

initial height

(m)

initial angle

(deg)

Range can be obtained by solving this equation for x with h(x) = 0.

Look at the change in the shape of the trajectory, the maximum range, R (how far the projectile goes) and the maximum height, h_{max} (the height at the top of the parabolic trajectory) as you change the input variables.

The maximum height is given by