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The Shape of a Projectile's Path: Explorations with a Computer Algebra System

John H. Mathews
Organization: California State University Fullerton
Department: Mathematics
URL: http://math.fullerton.edu/mathews/
R. López
Journal / Anthology

Year: 1993
Volume: 14
Issue: 2
Page range: 39-47

When a projectile is shot into the air, we want to knoe how far it will go, how high it will rise, and the time until impact. ... The formulas involved in the model where air resistance is neglected can be found in almost every calculus textbook. Answers are readily obtained form the direction and magnitude of the initial velocity. With a computer algebra system (CAS), it is easy for students to obtain and explore explicit formulas for the model which assumes air resistance is proportional to the velocity of the projectile. Exploration of these models constitutes as computer laboratory exercise and can be implemented with CAS software such as Mathematica or Maple. Alternately, the mathematical analysis can be donw with pncil and paper in conjunction with graphics software or a graphics calculator.

*Mathematics > Calculus and Analysis > Calculus
*Science > Physics > Mechanics