10 Projectile Motion Examples in Real Life

Projectile Motion

Projectile motion is the motion of an object in two dimensions. This means that if an object moves in both the horizontal and vertical directions at the same time, it is said to be exhibiting a projectile motion. In simple words, if an object tends to follow a curved or parabolic path of motion, projectile motion is said to be existing.

Examples of Projectile Motion

1. Firing a Canon

When a cannonball is fired from a cannon, it does not move along a straight line, instead, it follows a curved path. This is because the firing is done at an angle that causes the ball to move vertically and horizontally at the same time. Hence, the projectile motion is said to be existing.

Firing a Canon

2. Throwing a Basketball in the Basket 

When a basketball player aims to score a basket, he/she tends to hold a ball at an angle, and he/she throws it. This causes the ball to move along the horizontal direction while rising in height at the same time. Hence, due to the presence of both horizontal and vertical motion, a projectile motion is said to be existing.

Throwing a Basketball in the Basket 

3. Sneezing 

Sneezing is the natural response of our body to eject foreign particles forcibly from the mouth and nose. While sneezing, the particles and droplets coming out of the mouth exhibit a projectile motion while landing on the objects and surfaces nearby.


4. Javelin Throw

An athlete who practices javelin throw directs the sharp edge of the javelin in the air at a particular angle. The initial velocity with which the javelin is thrown consists of both the horizontal and vertical components. When the vertical velocity approaches zero or when a maximum height is achieved, the javelin advances in a horizontal direction. The horizontal velocity eventually reaches zero, thereby displaying projectile motion in real life.

Javelin Throw

5. Archery

When an archer pulls an arrow and releases it in the air at a particular angle, the arrow moves along the x and y-axis simultaneously. This means that the parabolic path taken by the arrow to move forward can be traced easily with the naked eye. Hence, it displays a projectile motion.


6. Water Escaping a Hose 

The water coming out of a hose attached to a water source or a water tap follows a projectile motion when it is held at an angle. The path followed by the water is clearly parabolic in nature because it tends to move in a vertical and horizontal direction at the same time.

Water Escaping a Hose 

7. Car and Bike Stunts 

The projectile motion helps a stuntman perform a number of stunts. This is because while exhibiting projectile motion, an object makes use of both the horizontal and vertical velocity. The vertical velocity is one of the most important parameters required by a stuntman to make a car jump along a ramp and land safely on the other side of the setup.

Car and Bike Stunts 

8. Golf Ball

When a golfer hits a golf ball with force, it moves in the air travelling both in the horizontal and vertical directions. This is because the vertical velocity possessed by the ball helps it rise in the air, while the horizontal velocity is responsible for the linear displacement. Hence, projectile motion can be observed clearly.

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9. Disc Throw

An athlete throwing a disc in the air sets it up at a certain angle. This is because it provides the disc with both horizontal and vertical velocity. In absence of either of the velocities, the disc cannot travel a long distance. Hence, projectile motion is very necessary for an athlete to throw a disc.

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10. Gun Fire

When the trigger of a gun is pressed, the bullet escapes the barrel, exhibiting a straight line motion. The plunger then pulls back the shell and allows it to fall to the ground. The shell falling to the ground does not move in a single dimension but exhibits a motion in both vertical and horizontal direction, thereby displaying a projectile motion in real life.

If one fires a bullet into the universe/space, what will happen to the bullet? Will it keep traveling until it gets struck onto something or pulled by a gravity? How much distance

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  1. Garrett Fett

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