Instructional Materials in Physics and Astronomy



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From Study Modules for Calculus-Based General Physics
Copyright © 1975 CBP Workshop, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Reproduction rights granted.


How long does it take you to go home? This depends on how far you are from home (displacement), how fast (velocity) you can travel, and how often you must start and stop (acceleration).

This module treats kinematics, which is the part of physics concerned with the description of the motion of a body. The body may be an automobile, a baseball, a raindrop, a flower in the wind, or a running horse. The change in position of a body can be described in terms of the vector quantities: displacement, velocity, and acceleration. Calculus can be used to define the relationships among these quantities. It is therefore essential to know some basic techniques of calculus to understand the content of this module.

The applications in this module only consider motion in one dimension. A later module will treat the more general case of motion in two or three dimensions, but the fundamental concepts will be essentially the same.

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