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A simulation of an air track glider setup, as it is used for experiments on constant acceleration motion. A gravitational acceleration of 9.81 m/s2 was presupposed. The mass of the wagon, the value of the hanging mass and the coefficient of friction (within certain limits) can be changed. For one measurement you have to adjust the measuring distance (from the initial position to the light barrier LB, accuracy 5 mm) with pressed mouse button and to read the corresponding time (digital display, accuracy 1 ms). During the movement a red point in the t-s-diagram (time-way-diagram) indicates the present time and the covered distance. As soon as the measurement of time is finished, the pair of measured values will be marked on the diagram. After a mouse click on the "Record data" button the data will be registered on the list. A series of measurements with the same parameters cannot contain more than 10 measurements.


MathsNet imageSir Isaac Newton (4 January 1643 - 31 March 1727) was the greatest English mathematician of his generation. He laid the foundation for differential and integral calculus. His work on optics and gravitation make him one of the greatest scientists the world has known.
Newton's laws of motion are three physical laws which provide relationships between the forces acting on a body and the motion of the body, first compiled by Sir Isaac Newton. Newton's laws were first published together in his work Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687). The Principia is recognised as the greatest scientific book ever written. Newton analysed the motion of bodies in resisting and non-resisting media under the action of centripetal forces. The results were applied to orbiting bodies, projectiles, pendulums, and free-fall near the Earth. He further demonstrated that the planets were attracted toward the Sun by a force varying as the inverse square of the distance and generalised that all heavenly bodies mutually attract one another.

The laws form the basis for classical mechanics.
  1. Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.
  2. The relationship between an object's mass m, its acceleration a, and the applied force F is F = ma. Acceleration and force are vectors (as indicated by their symbols being displayed in slant bold font); in this law the direction of the force vector is the same as the direction of the acceleration vector.
  3. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Software/Applets used on this page

Based on free Java applets from Java Applets on Physics



the rate of change of velocity with time. It is a vector quantity with magnitude and direction.


an object with both mass and size that cannot be taken to be a particle


the study of change; a major branch of mathematics that includes the study of limits, derivatives, rates of change, gradient, integrals, area, summation, and infinite series. Historically, it has been referred to as "the calculus of infinitesimals", or "infinitesimal calculus".
There are widespread applications in science, economics, and engineering.


of a force directed towards the centre in circular motion


The constant value in an expression, for example in 3x the coefficient of x is 3.


a value in a formula or equation that cannot change.


that which causes a body to accelerate or change in momentum


whenever two rough surfaces are in contact, this force, F acts in the direction to oppose motion.


the anti-derivative


having negligible mass.


a measure of the quantity of matter in an object


the unit of force


the sum of terms in a sequence


A mathematical object with magnitude and direction.


Equal to F x s, where F is the force in Newtons and s is the distance travelled and is measured in Joules.

Full Glossary List

This question appears in the following syllabi:

SyllabusModuleSectionTopicExam Year
AQA A-Level (UK - Pre-2017)M1DynamicsNewton's Laws-
AQA AS Maths 2017MechanicsForces and Newton's LawsNewton's Laws-
AQA AS/A2 Maths 2017MechanicsForces and Newton's LawsNewton's Laws-
CCEA A-Level (NI)M1DynamicsNewton's Laws-
CIE A-Level (UK)M1DynamicsNewton's Laws-
Edexcel A-Level (UK - Pre-2017)M1DynamicsNewton's Laws-
Edexcel AS Maths 2017MechanicsForces and Newton's LawsNewton's Laws-
Edexcel AS/A2 Maths 2017MechanicsForces and Newton's LawsNewton's Laws-
OCR A-Level (UK - Pre-2017)M1DynamicsNewton's Laws-
OCR AS Maths 2017MechanicsForces and Newton's LawsNewton's Laws-
OCR MEI AS Maths 2017MechanicsForces and Newton's LawsNewton's Laws-
OCR-MEI A-Level (UK - Pre-2017)M1DynamicsNewton's Laws-
Pre-U A-Level (UK)MechDynamicsNewton's Laws-
Universal (all site questions)DDynamicsNewton's Laws-
WJEC A-Level (Wales)M1DynamicsNewton's Laws-