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Motion is vital to life, and to science. This free course, Describing motion along a line, will help you to understand why classical motion is probably the most fundamental part of physics. You will examine motion along a line and the ways in which such motion can be represented, through the use of graphs, equations and differential calculus.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- explain the meaning of all the newly defined (emboldened) terms introduced in this course
- draw, analyse and interpret position-time, displacement-time, velocity-time and acceleration-time graphs. Where appropriate, you should also be able to relate those graphs one to another and to the functions or equations that describe them, particularly in the case of straight-line graphs
- find the derivatives of simple polynomial functions, express physical rates of change as derivatives, and relate derivatives to the gradients of appropriate graphs
- solve simple problems involving uniform motion and uniformly accelerated motion by using appropriate equations. You should also be able to rearrange simple equations, to change the subject of an equation, and to eliminate variables between sets of equations
- describe the nature and purpose of drop-towers and drop-shafts, with particular reference to their role in simulating the near weightless conditions of space.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- Describing motion along a line
- The description of motion
- 1 From drop-towers to Oblivion - some applications of linear motion
- 2 Positions along a line
- 3 Uniform motion along a line
- 3.1 Describing uniform motion
- 3.2 Constant velocity and the gradient of the position-time graph
- 3.3 Initial position and the intercept of the position-time graph
- 3.4 The equations of uniform motion
- 3.5 Velocity-time and speed-time graphs
- 3.6 The signed area under a constant velocity-time graph
- 3.7 A note on straight-line graphs and their gradients
- 4 Non-uniform motion along a line
- 5 Uniformly accelerated motion along a line
- 6 Closing items
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Describing motion along a line
Motion is vital to life, and to science. In many ways it was the investigation of motion, initiated by Galileo Galilei in the late sixteenth century, and brought to a head by Isaac Newton in the seventeenth, that inaugurated the modern era of physics. Progress since that time has been so great that describing motion is now regarded as a fundamental part of science rather than one of its frontiers. Nonetheless, the description of motion played a central role in Einstein's formulation of the special theory of relativity in 1905, and it continues to provide an excellent starting point for the quantitative investigation of nature.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of level 2 study in
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Physics and Astronomy courses or view the range of currently available OU Physics and Astronomy courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Wednesday, 16th March 2016
Last updated on: Wednesday, 16th March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
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