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# 2/16/2017 TheMeaningofShapeforaptGraph

TheMeaningofShapeforaptGraph
TheMeaningofShapeforaptGraph
MeaningofSlopeforaptGraph
DeterminingtheSlopeonaptGraph

Ourstudyof1dimensionalkinematicshasbeenconcernedwiththemultiplemeansbywhichthe
motionofobjectscanberepresented.Suchmeansincludetheuseofwords,theuseofdiagrams,the
useofnumbers,theuseofequations,andtheuseofgraphs.Lesson3focusesontheuseofposition
vs.timegraphstodescribemotion.Aswewilllearn,thespecificfeaturesofthemotionofobjectsare
demonstratedbytheshapeandtheslopeofthelinesonapositionvs.timegraph.Thefirstpartofthis
lessoninvolvesastudyoftherelationshipbetweentheshapeofaptgraphandthemotionofthe
object.

ContrastingaConstantandaChangingVelocity
Tobegin,consideracarmovingwithaconstant,rightward(+)velocitysayof+10m/s.

Ifthepositiontimedataforsuchacarweregraphed,then
theresultinggraphwouldlooklikethegraphattheright.
Notethatamotiondescribedasaconstant,positivevelocity
resultsinalineofconstantandpositiveslopewhenplotted
asapositiontimegraph.
Nowconsideracarmovingwitharightward(+),
changingvelocitythatis,acarthatismovingrightward
butspeedingupor accelerating
.

Ifthepositiontimedataforsuchacarweregraphed,then
theresultinggraphwouldlooklikethegraphattheright.
Notethatamotiondescribedasachanging,positive
velocityresultsinalineofchangingandpositiveslope
whenplottedasapositiontimegraph.
Thepositionvs.timegraphsforthetwotypesofmotion
constantvelocityandchangingvelocity(acceleration)are
depictedasfollows.

PositiveVelocity
ConstantVelocity
ChangingVelocity
PositiveVelocity
(acceleration)

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2/16/2017 TheMeaningofShapeforaptGraph

TheImportanceofSlope
Theshapesofthepositionversustimegraphsforthesetwobasictypesofmotion
constantvelocitymotionandacceleratedmotion(i.e.,changingvelocity)revealan
importantprinciple.Theprincipleisthattheslopeofthelineonapositiontimegraph
slopegoes,sogoesthevelocity."Whatevercharacteristicsthevelocityhas,theslope
willexhibitthesame(andviceversa).Ifthevelocityisconstant,thentheslopeisconstant(i.e.,a
straightline).Ifthevelocityischanging,thentheslopeischanging(i.e.,acurvedline).Ifthevelocityis
positive,thentheslopeispositive(i.e.,movingupwardsandtotheright).Thisveryprinciplecanbe
extendedtoanymotionconceivable.

ContrastingaSlowandaFastMotion
Considerthegraphsbelowasexampleapplicationsofthisprinciple
concerningtheslopeofthelineonapositionversustimegraph.The
graphontheleftisrepresentativeofanobjectthatismovingwitha
positivevelocity(asdenotedbythepositiveslope),aconstantvelocity(as
denotedbytheconstantslope)andasmallvelocity(asdenotedbythe
smallslope).Thegraphontherighthassimilarfeaturesthereisa
constant,positivevelocity(asdenotedbytheconstant,positiveslope).
However,theslopeofthegraphontherightislargerthanthatonthe
left.Thislargerslopeisindicativeofalargervelocity.Theobjectrepresentedbythegraphontheright
istravelingfasterthantheobjectrepresentedbythegraphontheleft.Theprincipleofslopecanbe
usedtoextractrelevantmotioncharacteristicsfromapositionvs.timegraph.Astheslopegoes,so
goesthevelocity.

Slow,Rightward(+) Fast,Rightward(+)
ConstantVelocity ConstantVelocity

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2/16/2017 TheMeaningofShapeforaptGraph

Considerthegraphsbelowasanotherapplicationofthisprincipleofslope.Thegraphontheleftis
representativeofanobjectthatismovingwithanegativevelocity(as
denotedbythenegativeslope),aconstantvelocity(asdenotedby
theconstantslope)andasmallvelocity(asdenotedbythesmall
slope).Thegraphontherighthassimilarfeaturesthereisa
constant,negativevelocity(asdenotedbytheconstant,negative
slope).However,theslopeofthegraphontherightislargerthan
thatontheleft.Oncemore,thislargerslopeisindicativeofalarger
velocity.Theobjectrepresentedbythegraphontherightistraveling
fasterthantheobjectrepresentedbythegraphontheleft.

Slow,Leftward() Fast,Leftward()
ConstantVelocity ConstantVelocity

RepresentinganAcceleratedMotion
Asafinalapplicationofthisprincipleofslope,considerthetwographsbelow.Bothgraphsshowplotted
pointsformingacurvedline.Curvedlineshavechangingslopetheymaystartwithaverysmallslope
andbegincurvingsharply(eitherupwardsordownwards)towardsalargeslope.Ineithercase,the
curvedlineofchangingslopeisasignofacceleratedmotion(i.e.,changingvelocity).Applyingthe
principleofslopetothegraphontheleft,onewouldconcludethattheobjectdepictedbythegraphis
movingwithanegativevelocity(sincetheslopeisnegative).Furthermore,theobjectisstartingwitha
smallvelocity(theslopestartsoutwithasmallslope)andfinisheswithalargevelocity(theslope
becomeslarge).Thatwouldmeanthatthisobjectismovinginthenegativedirectionandspeedingup
(thesmallvelocityturnsintoalargervelocity).Thisisanexampleofnegativeaccelerationmovingin
thenegativedirectionandspeedingup.Thegraphontherightalsodepictsanobjectwithnegative
velocity(sincethereisanegativeslope).Theobjectbeginswithahighvelocity(theslopeisinitially
large)andfinisheswithasmallvelocity(sincetheslopebecomessmaller).Sothisobjectismovingin
thenegativedirectionandslowingdown.Thisisanexampleofpositiveacceleration.

Negative()Velocity Leftward()Velocity
SlowtoFast FasttoSlow

motionofobjectsasdescribedbytheirpositionvs.timegraph.Onceyou'vepracticedtheprinciplea
fewtimes,itbecomesaverynaturalmeansofanalyzingpositiontimegraphs.
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SeeAnimationsofVariousMotionswithAccompanyingGraphs
2/16/2017 TheMeaningofShapeforaptGraph

Investigate!
Thewidgetbelowplotsthepositiontimeplotforanobjectwithspecifiedcharacteristics.Thetopwidget
plotsthemotionforanobjectmovingwithaconstantvelocity.Thebottomwidegetplotsthemotionfor
anacceleratingobject.Simplyenterthespecifiedvaluesandthewidgetthenplotsthelinewithposition
ontheverticalaxisandtimeonthehorizontalaxis.Besuretoobservethedifferencebetweenthe
constantvelocityplotandtheacceleratedmotionplot.

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