Learning goals Graphing place as a function of Time practice Problems inspect Your expertise

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to do the following:

Explain the definition of steep in position vs. Time graphsSolve problems using position vs. Time graphsSection vital Terms
dependent variable independent variable tangent

Graphing place as a role of Time

A graph, prefer a picture, is precious a thousands words. Graphs not just contain number information, they also reveal relationships between physical quantities. In this section, we will certainly investigate kinematics by evaluating graphs of position over time.

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Graphs in this text have actually perpendicular axes, one horizontal and the other vertical. When two physical quantities are plotted versus each other, the horizontal axis is usually taken into consideration the elevation variable, and the upright axis is the dependency variable. In algebra, girlfriend would have actually referred come the horizontal axis as the x-axis and the upright axis as the y-axis. As in number 2.11, a straight-line graph has actually the general type y=mx+by=mx+b.

Here m is the slope, identified as the rise split by the run (as checked out in the figure) that the directly line. The letter b is the y-intercept i m sorry is the suggest at which the line crosses the vertical, y-axis. In regards to a physical situation in the real world, these quantities will take on a details significance, together we will view below. (Figure 2.11.)


Figure 2.11 The diagram reflects a straight-line graph. The equation because that the straight line is y equates to mx + b.

In physics, time is commonly the independent variable. Various other quantities, such together displacement, are claimed to depend upon it. A graph of position versus time, therefore, would have actually position top top the vertical axis (dependent variable) and also time top top the horizontal axis (independent variable). In this case, to what would certainly the slope and also y-intercept refer? stop look back at ours original instance when researching distance and also displacement.

The journey to school was 5 km from home. Stop assume it take it 10 minute to do the drive and also that your parental was driving at a consistent velocity the whole time. The position versus time graph for this section of the pilgrimage would look choose that presented in figure 2.12.


Figure 2.12 A graph of place versus time for the drive to school is shown. What would certainly the graph look choose if we included the return trip?

As we claimed before, d0 = 0 since we contact home our O and start calculating indigenous there. In figure 2.12, the line starts in ~ d = 0, together well. This is the b in ours equation because that a directly line. Our initial place in a place versus time graph is always the location where the graph the cross the x-axis in ~ t = 0. What is the slope? The rise is the change in position, (i.e., displacement) and the run is the readjust in time. This partnership can also be created

This relationship was exactly how we characterized average velocity. Therefore, the steep in a d versus t graph, is the average velocity.

Sometimes, together is the instance where we graph both the pilgrimage to school and the return trip, the behavior of the graph looks different during various time intervals. If the graph looks prefer a collection of straight lines, then you have the right to calculate the mean velocity because that each time interval through looking in ~ the slope. If you then desire to calculation the average velocity because that the whole trip, you deserve to do a load average.

Let’s watch at an additional example. Number 2.13 shows a graph of place versus time because that a jet-powered car on a very flat dry lake bed in Nevada.


Figure 2.13 The diagram mirrors a graph of position versus time because that a jet-powered vehicle on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Using the relationship between dependent and also independent variables, we view that the steep in the graph in figure 2.13 is median velocity, vavg and also the intercept is displacement in ~ time zero—that is, d0. Substituting these symbols right into y = mx + b offers




Thus a graph of place versus time offers a basic relationship amongst displacement, velocity, and time, and giving thorough numerical information about a details situation. From the number we deserve to see that the car has a position of 400 m in ~ t = 0 s, 650 m in ~ t = 1.0 s, and also so on. And we deserve to learn around the object’s velocity, as well.

Graphing Motion

In this activity, you will certainly release a round down a ramp and graph the ball’s displacement vs. Time.

Choose one open place with too many of room to spread out out so there is less chance for tripping or falling because of rolling balls.
1 ball1 board2 or 3 books1 stopwatch1 ice cream measure6 pieces of masking tape1 item of graph paper1 pencil
Build a ramp by put one finish of the board on optimal of the ridge of books. Change location, as necessary, till there is no obstacle follow me the directly line path from the bottom of the ramp till at the very least the next 3 m. Mark distances of 0.5 m, 1.0 m, 1.5 m, 2.0 m, 2.5 m, and 3.0 m from the bottom the the ramp. Create the distances on the tape.Have one human take the role of the experimenter. This human being will release the round from the top of the ramp. If the sphere does no reach the 3.0 m mark, then rise the incline of the ramp by including another book. Repeat this action as necessary.Have the experimenter relax the ball. Have a 2nd person, the timer, start timing the trial when the sphere reaches the bottom the the ramp and stop the timing when the ball reaches 0.5 m. Have a 3rd person, the recorder, record the time in a data table.Repeat action 4, stopping the time at the distances of 1.0 m, 1.5 m, 2.0 m, 2.5 m, and also 3.0 m from the bottom of the ramp.Use your measurements of time and also the displacement to do a place vs. Time graph of the ball’s motion.Repeat steps 4 through 6, through different people taking ~ above the duties of experimenter, timer, and recorder. Execute you gain the same measurement values regardless of who releases the ball, measures the time, or records the result? Discuss feasible causes the discrepancies, if any.

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Grasp Check
True or False: The mean speed that the sphere will be less than the average velocity that the ball.
True False
Solving difficulties Using place vs. Time Graphs

So how do we usage graphs to solve for points we desire to recognize like velocity?