Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Air Resistance
Name: lorraine
Status: student
Age: 16
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001


Question:
how does air resistance affect the movement of the projectile?

how the principles of projectile is used in launching artificial satellites in outer space?


Replies:
Hi Lorriane:

1.Projectiles have a vertical (up and down) and horizontal (side to side) component. What that means is that if you could take a snap shot of a projectile, like a cannon ball that was shot into the air, and look at its velocity, you would see two parts. You would see the velocity in the 'x' direction (side to side) and the velocity in the 'y' direction (up and down). These two components of velocity are independent of each other.

For example, if I throw a ball straight up into the air, its has a 'y' velocity, but its 'x' velocity would be zero. So, air resistance will have an effect on the motion of a projectile if it changes either or both of the velocity components. For example, if your cannon ball has an initial 'x' velocity of 20 meters per second, but the wind is blowing 10 meters per second against the cannon ball, the ball will only have a resultant of 10 meters per second in the 'x' direction. Basically, the wind slows it down, just as you would think!

2. As far as projectiles into space, if you understand my explaination above, you will see that in order for a satellite to leave earth, its velocity in the 'y' direction must overcome the gravity of earth. In this case, the earths gravity is like the wind in the problem above, only much much stronger! I hope this helps

Katie Page



Click here to return to the Physics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory