Field Goal Physics
He aims, he kicks, he scores a field goal! He may not know it, but he’s also applying an important law of physics: Newton’s second law of motion.
The Back Story
- Newton’s second law states that the acceleration of an object equals the net force acting on the object divided by the object’s mass. An object accelerates whenever it undergoes a change in velocity, that is, a change in the speed or direction of motion.
- Watch this video to see how Newton’s second law applies to kicking field goals in football: http://www.nbclearn.com/nfl/cuecard/50974
Can You Apply It?
Learn more about Newton’s second law and kicking a football at the link below. Then answer the questions that follow.
- In kicking a field goal in football, how is force applied to the ball? How much force is applied to the ball by an NFL kicker?
- What is an impulse? How is it calculated?
- How does a larger impulse affect the football when it is kicked?
- Footballs used in the American NFL and the Canadian CFL differ in mass. What is the mass of each football? How does the mass of a football affect its motion when it is kicked?
- What is inertia? How does the mass of an object such as a football relate to its inertia?
- How is the acceleration of an object calculated if you know its mass and the amount of force that is applied to it?
- If a net force of 300 N is applied to both an NFL football and a CFL football, what is the acceleration of each ball?