An experiment for the study of projectile motion


  • M. S. Kovačević University of Kragujevac
  • L. Kuzmanović University of Kragujevac
  • S. Kovačević The First Grammar School of Kragujevac
  • M. M. Milošević University of Kragujevac



Projectile motion; energy conservation; rolling; mechanical energy conservation


The classic demonstration experiment of the motion of a point mass thrown at an angle to the horizon is studied. Several measurements of the range of a projectile launched sphere are carried out and compared with the results that were obtained by an analytical approach. The sphere’s motion can be treated as two independent movements, a linear uniform movement in the horizontal direction and a uniformly accelerated motion in the vertical direction. The value of launching velocity obtained by kinematics is compared with those predicted by the law of mechanical energy conservation. The conclusion is that the model of a frictionless sliding sphere is far from explaining the experimental result. The model could be improved proposing that the sphere rolls without sliding (pure rolling) on the platform including the rotational kinetic energy. Finally, the fact that the sphere does not settle completely on the launch rail was considered using an effective radius of rotation. Observed from the three proposed models, the last one is the closest to the obtained experimental value. These activities can also improve students’ understanding of the concept of projectile motion.


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How to Cite

M. Kovačević, L. . Kuzmanović, S. Kovačević, and M. M. Milošević, “An experiment for the study of projectile motion”, Rev. Mex. Fis. E, vol. 21, no. 2 Jul-Dec, pp. 020217 1–, Jul. 2024.