Kinematics in one dimension
Kinematics is a part of mechanics, which is the
description of how objects move.
Speed is a measure of how fast object moves,
measured by a unit of distance divided by a unit
Average speed doesn’t indicate the different
speeds that may have taken place during
shorter time intervals.
average speed = total distance traveled/ time elapsed
Total distance traveled = average speed X time
1. What is the average speed of a cheetah that sprints 100 m in 4 s?
How about if it sprints 50 m in 2 s?
2. If a car moves with an average speed of 60 km/h for an hour, it
will travel a distance of 60 km.
(a) how far would it travel if it moved at this rate for 4 h?
(b) for 10 h?
3. In addition to speedometer on the dashboard of every car is an
odometer, which records the distance traveled. If the initial
reading is set at zero at the beginning of a trip and the reading is
40 km one half hour later, what has been your average speed?
4. Would it be possible to attain the average speed in previous
example and never go faster than 80 km/h?
When we describe speed and the direction of
motion, we are specifying velocity
1. With what two physical values is the race-car driver
concerned? Speed or velocity?
2. The speedometer of a car moving to the east reads 100
km/h. It passes another car that moves to the west at 100
km/h. Do both cars have the same speed? Do they have the
3. During certain period of time, the speedometer of a car
reads a constant 60 km/h. Does this indicate a constant
speed or a constant velocity?
1. How might you estimate your speed if the speedometer in
your car is broken?
2. Which of the following can be used to measure an average
speed: stopwatch, odometer, or speedometer? An
We can change the velocity of something
by changing its speed; by changing its
direction or by changing its speed and its
average acceleration = change of velocity/time elapsed
Acceleration tells us how fast the velocity changes,
whereas velocity tells us how fast the position
Motion at Constant Acceleration
Acceleration is a rate of
change , or change per
second of velocity.
1. Which has the greater acceleration, an airplane that goes
from 1000 km/h to 1005 km/h in 10 s, or a skateboard that
goes from 0 to 5 km/h in 1 sec?
2. What is the acceleration of a race car that whizzes past you at
a constant velocity 400 km/h?
Acceleration on Galileo Inclined Planes
Galileo found greater accelerations for
steeper inclines. The ball attains max
acceleration when the incline is tipped
-a ball rolling down an inclined plane is moving with constant
- greater accelerations for steeper planes, max acceleration when
incline is tipped vertically
- regardless of weight and size, when air resistance is small
enough to be neglected, all objects fall with the same unchanging
We call this acceleration the acceleration due to gravity
on the Earth, and we give it the symbol g.
g = 9.80 m/ s2 ~ 10 m/ s2
With his inclined planes Galileo found that the distance a
uniformly accelerating object travels is proportional to the
square of the time
Distance = acceleration x time x time /2.
It is common observation that many objects
fall with unequal accelerations: a leaf, a feather
or a sheet of paper may come to the ground
At a given location on the Earth and in the
absence of air resistance, all objects fall with the
same constant acceleration
A cat steps off a ledge and drops to the ground in ½ second.
(a) What is its speed on striking the ground?
(b) What is its average speed during the ½ second?
(c) What is the height of this ledge?
1. Which of the following (if any) could not be considered an
“accelerator” in an automobile: gas pedal, brake pedal,
2. A sports car accelerates from 65 mph to 75 mph in 2 seconds
while a minivan accelerates from 20 mph to 35 mph in 2
seconds. Which one has the larger acceleration?
3. You are standing on a high cliff above the ocean. You drop a
pebble, and it strikes the water 4 seconds later. Ignoring the
effects of air resistance, how fast was the pebble traveling
just before striking the water? What is the height of the cliff?
Summary of Terms
Speed : How fast something moves. The distance traveled per
Velocity: The speed of an object and specification of its
direction of motion
Acceleration: The rate at which velocity changes with time;
the change in velocity may be in magnitude or direction or
Free fall : Motion under the influence of gravity only.
Summary of Formulas
Speed = distance/time
Average speed = total distance covered/time interval
Acceleration = change of velocity/time interval
Acceleration (along a straight line) = change in speed/time interval
Velocity acquired in free fall, from rest: v=gt
Distance fallen in free fall, from rest: d = gt2/2