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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.
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!
Motion under gravity
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 course looks at gravity, its impact on objects and how the energy involved in the movement of objects is dispersed or stored.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of level 1 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: Tuesday, 22nd March 2016
Last updated on: Tuesday, 22nd 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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