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Projectile Motion

Two forces (horizontal and downward) combined will cause an object to move along a curved path.

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Human Cannonball

Human Cannonball

Credit: Ara? Moleri Riva-Zucchelli
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/38274421@N07/4435888271
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Using muscle power alone, he flies through the air.

Amazing But True!

  • Believe it or not, the motion of a long jumper is actually an example of projectile motion—like the motion of a cannonball, arrow, or bullet.
  • For a successful long jump, the athlete must sprint down the runway and then launch his body into the air at the exact moment he reaches the take-off board.
  • At least one Olympic hopeful has turned to physics to help him maximize his long jump. You can learn how by watching this video: http://www.nbclearn.com/summerolympics/cuecard/59578 

Can You Apply It?

At the link below, learn more about the physics of the long jump and the technology that is being used to study it. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Like other examples of projectile motion, the long jumper’s motion has two parts. What are they?
  2. How does gravity affect the long jumper’s motion?
  3. What element of the long jump determines its length? What cutting-edge technology is used to measure this element? How does this technology work?
  4. How can the long jumper use the information provided by the technology in question 3 to maximize his jump?

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    Image Attributions

    1. [1]^ Credit: Ara? Moleri Riva-Zucchelli; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/38274421@N07/4435888271; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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