<img src="https://d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net/atrk.gif?account=iA1Pi1a8Dy00ym" style="display:none" height="1" width="1" alt="" />
Skip Navigation

Projectile Motion

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

Atoms Practice
Estimated1 minsto complete
Practice Projectile Motion
Estimated1 minsto complete
Practice Now
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 
  • Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Matthew A. Ebarb
    Source: http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_Navy_070422-N-5215E-003_A_Special_Olympics_athlete_participates_in_the_long_jump_at_the_Naval_Academy.jpg
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    Speed, strength and the proper technique are three key components to being a successful long jumper [Figure2]


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 a stereoscopic (3-D, camera) to maximize his jump?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Ara? Moleri Riva-Zucchelli; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/38274421@N07/4435888271; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Matthew A. Ebarb; Source: http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_Navy_070422-N-5215E-003_A_Special_Olympics_athlete_participates_in_the_long_jump_at_the_Naval_Academy.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Explore More

Sign in to explore more, including practice questions and solutions for Scope of Physics.
Please wait...
Please wait...

Original text