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Analyzing Motion Graphs

In this real world, experimental data is obtained from instruments and provided to the physicist or engineer in the form of graphs or data tables. Only once a physical model has been established to fit a particular phenomena will the physicist have functions describing the phenomena with which he can apply various mathematics to develop equations that can be used predict the phenomena in the future. Many physical phenomena including the flight of a baseball hit by a batter and developing new types of aircraft are sufficiently complicated that no model has been shown to accurately module the phenomena all the time and the physicist must contend with working from graphs and tables of data obtained during testing of prototypes.

Motion graphs are among the most important of graphs in introductory physics courses as they can provide all information needed from an experiment especially given video analysis of videos taken of phenomena using high speed cameras. The techniques used to analyze motion graphs work for all kinematic problems unlike the kinematic equations which are derived for very special shape graphs and therefore valid only for constant acceleration problems.

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