Engineering: Using Newton's Laws of Motion
Launch Angle and Target Distance
Many sports involve throwing or hitting balls or other implements as far and accurately as possible. In baseball, a center fielder has to pick up a ground ball and throw it at the right angle and speed to the catcher waiting at home plate. A quarterback must be able to pass the football to a receiver running full speed toward the end zone. A golfer selects a driver with the right angle on the club face to launch a golf ball toward the hole. Athletes who throw javelins try to throw a javelin farther than their competitors. Through experience, we learn to throw or hit a ball at the correct angle and speed to reach our target.
Keywords: acceleration | design | drag | engineering | f=ma | flight | force | gravity | javelin | kinetic energy | launch angle | lift | mass | mechanical energy | motion | Newton’s Laws | physical energy | physics | potential energy | projectile | STEM | thrust | physical science
- Vogt, G.L., B.Z. Tharp, M.T. Vu, and N.P. Moreno. 2014. Think Like an Engineer Teacher’s Guide. Baylor College of Medicine (ISBN: 978-1-888997-64-4). Development of Think Like an Engineer educational materials was supported, in part, by National Science Foundation grant number DRL-1028771.
- Bregje Crolla © Erik van Leeuwen. CC-BY-SA 3.0.
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Grant Number: DRL-1028771