# Difference Between Free Fall and Projectile Motion

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## Definition of Free Fall and Projectile Motion

Free Fall: Free fall is a type of motion that describes the vertical movement of an object under the sole influence of gravity. In free fall, the object is not being propelled by any other force besides gravity, and it experiences a constant acceleration due to gravity.

• Characteristics:
1. The object moves in a straight line.
2. The object accelerates at a constant rate of 9.8 m/s² (acceleration due to gravity).
3. The object’s velocity increases as it falls towards the ground.
4. The object experiences weightlessness or a feeling of weightlessness.
• Calculation: The motion of an object in free fall can be described using several equations, including:
1. d = (1/2) * g * t², where d is the distance traveled, g is the acceleration due to gravity, and t is the time elapsed.
2. v = g * t, where v is the velocity of the object, g is the acceleration due to gravity, and t is the time elapsed.
3. vf = vi + g * t, where vf is the final velocity of the object, vi is the initial velocity of the object (which is typically 0 in free fall), g is the acceleration due to gravity, and t is the time elapsed.
• Examples:
1. Dropping a ball from a height.
2. Skydiving or bungee jumping.
3. A rollercoaster’s drop from its peak.

Understanding free fall is essential in fields such as physics and engineering, and it has many practical applications, including designing safe parachutes, calculating the trajectory of a falling object, and understanding the effects of gravity on objects in motion.

Projectile Motion: Projectile motion refers to the motion of an object that is thrown or launched into the air and then moves under the influence of gravity alone. Unlike free fall, projectile motion has a horizontal component, meaning the object moves both vertically and horizontally.

• Characteristics:
1. The object follows a curved path (parabolic trajectory).
2. The object moves horizontally at a constant velocity.
3. The object accelerates downward due to gravity.
4. The object’s vertical displacement is affected by the initial velocity and the angle at which it was launched.
• Calculation: The motion of an object in projectile motion can be described using several equations, including:
1. d = v0x * t, where d is the horizontal distance traveled, v0x is the initial horizontal velocity, and t is the time elapsed.
2. d = (1/2) * g * t², where d is the vertical distance traveled, g is the acceleration due to gravity, and t is the time elapsed.
3. vf = v0y + g * t, where vf is the final vertical velocity, v0y is the initial vertical velocity, g is the acceleration due to gravity, and t is the time elapsed.
• Examples:
1. Throwing a ball at an angle.
2. Kicking a soccer ball.
3. Firing a cannonball from a cannon.
4. Launching a rocket into space.

Projectile motion is important in fields such as physics, engineering, and sports, as it helps us understand the trajectory of a projectile and how it behaves in the air. For example, understanding projectile motion is crucial for designing rockets and missiles, calculating the range of artillery fire, and analyzing the motion of a basketball in a game.

## Importance of understanding the difference between Free Fall and Projectile Motion

Understanding the difference between free fall and projectile motion is essential because it helps us to differentiate between the two types of motion, which have distinct characteristics, equations, and applications. Here are some reasons why it is important to understand the difference:

1. Different paths of motion: Free fall involves vertical motion only, while projectile motion involves both horizontal and vertical motion. Knowing the difference between the two allows us to understand how the motion of an object changes when it has a horizontal velocity component.
2. Different forces acting on the object: In free fall, the only force acting on the object is gravity, while in projectile motion, there are both vertical and horizontal forces acting on the object. Understanding these forces is crucial for calculating the trajectory of a projectile and designing systems that rely on projectiles, such as cannons, missiles, and rockets.
3. Different equations: The equations used to describe free fall and projectile motion are different. Understanding the differences in these equations allows us to better understand the motion of an object and calculate its position, velocity, and acceleration.
4. Applications: Free fall and projectile motion have many practical applications, including designing parachutes, calculating the trajectory of a falling object, and designing systems that rely on projectiles, such as cannons, missiles, and rockets. Understanding the difference between the two types of motion is crucial for understanding and developing these systems.

Understanding the difference between free fall and projectile motion is important because it allows us to differentiate between the two types of motion, understand the forces acting on the object, use the appropriate equations, and develop systems that rely on these types of motion.

## Differences between Free Fall and Projectile Motion

Here are the key differences between free fall and projectile motion:

1. Definition: Free fall refers to the vertical motion of an object that is only influenced by gravity, while projectile motion refers to the motion of an object that is launched or thrown and moves under the influence of gravity and a horizontal velocity component.
2. Path of motion: Free fall involves motion in a straight line, while projectile motion follows a curved path (parabolic trajectory) due to the combination of vertical and horizontal motion.
3. Velocity: In free fall, the velocity of the object increases as it falls towards the ground, while in projectile motion, the velocity is constantly changing in both the horizontal and vertical directions.
4. Horizontal component: Free fall has no horizontal component, while projectile motion involves both a horizontal and a vertical component.
5. Forces acting on the object: In free fall, the only force acting on the object is gravity, while in projectile motion, there are both vertical and horizontal forces acting on the object.
6. Equations: The equations used to describe free fall and projectile motion are different. Free fall is described using equations such as d = (1/2) * g * t² and v = g * t, while projectile motion is described using equations such as d = v0x * t and vf = v0y + g * t.
7. Examples: Examples of free fall include dropping an object from a height or skydiving, while examples of projectile motion include throwing a ball, firing a cannonball, or launching a rocket into space.

The key differences between free fall and projectile motion include the path of motion, the presence of a horizontal component, the forces acting on the object, and the equations used to describe the motion.

### Conclusion

Free fall and projectile motion are two types of motion that are influenced by gravity, but they have distinct characteristics that differentiate them. Free fall refers to the vertical motion of an object that is only influenced by gravity, while projectile motion involves both vertical and horizontal motion due to an initial horizontal velocity component.

The differences between the two types of motion include the path of motion, the presence of a horizontal component, the forces acting on the object, and the equations used to describe the motion.

Understanding the differences between free fall and projectile motion is important because it helps us differentiate between the two types of motion, understand the forces acting on the object, use the appropriate equations, and develop systems that rely on these types of motion.

### References Website

1. “Free Fall” by Physics Classroom: https://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/1DKin/Lesson-6/Free-Fall-and-Air-Resistance This website provides a detailed explanation of free fall, including the definition, equations, and examples.
2. “Projectile Motion” by Khan Academy: https://www.khanacademy.org/science/physics/two-dimensional-motion/two-dimensional-projectile-mot/a/projectile-motion-review This website provides a comprehensive overview of projectile motion, including the definition, equations, and examples.
3. “Difference Between Free Fall and Projectile Motion” by DifferenceBetween.net: https://www.differencebetween.net/science/difference-between-free-fall-and-projectile-motion/ This website provides a clear and concise explanation of the differences between free fall and projectile motion.
4. “Free Fall vs. Projectile Motion” by Study.com: https://study.com/academy/lesson/free-fall-vs-projectile-motion.html This website provides a comparison between free fall and projectile motion, including the key differences and examples.
5. “Physics Classroom: Free Fall and Projectile Motion” by NASA: https://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/topnav/materials/listbytype/Free_Fall_and_Projectile_Motion.html This website provides resources and lesson plans for teaching free fall and projectile motion in the classroom.

These references provide a variety of explanations, examples, and resources that can help you better understand the differences between free fall and projectile motion.