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Motion under gravity

Free Course Free Course

From the moment that Galileo dropped two cannonballs of different sizes and weights from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa mankind has been fascinated by the impact of gravity. This free course, Motion under gravity, looks at gravity, its impact on objects and how the energy involved in the movement of objects is dispersed or stored.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand that all objects, irrespective of their mass, experience the same acceleration g when falling freely under the influence of gravity at the same point on the Earth. The weight of an object is the force F g due to gravity acting on the object, and for an object with mass m the weight is given by F g=mg
  • understand that if the height of an object of mass m changes by Δh, the change in gravitational energy is ΔE g=mgΔh
  • understand that if gravity is the only force acting on an object, the sum of kinetic energy and gravitational energy is constant
  • understand that increases in kinetic energy are balanced by decreases in gravitational energy, and vice versa
  • understand that there are various forms of potential energy, all of which depend on the position of an object rather than on its motion.

By: The Open University

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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand that all objects, irrespective of their mass, experience the same acceleration g when falling freely under the influence of gravity at the same point on the Earth. The weight of an object is the force F g due to gravity acting on the object, and for an object with mass m the weight is given by F g=mg

  • understand that if the height of an object of mass m changes by Δh, the change in gravitational energy is ΔE g=mgΔh

  • understand that if gravity is the only force acting on an object, the sum of kinetic energy and gravitational energy is constant

  • understand that increases in kinetic energy are balanced by decreases in gravitational energy, and vice versa

  • understand that there are various forms of potential energy, all of which depend on the position of an object rather than on its motion.

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