Displacement-time and velocity time graphs

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Displacement and velocity time graphs

Displacement-time graphs

Velocity = Displacement / Time.

Gradient = Velocity

Velocity time graphs

Acceleration = Change in velocity / Time taken

Gradient = acceleration

Area under the graph = displacement.


  • The transmitter of a motion sensor sends out pulses of ultrasound and infared radiation that are picked up by the reciever.
  • The distance of the transmitter from the sensor is continuously recorded.
  • The sensor is interfaced with a computer with data sampling software to measure the position of the trolley at fixed time intervals.
  • The trolley may be pulled along the runway at constant velocity or allowed to accelerate down an inclined plane.
  • Displacement-time graphs can be drawn from the results.
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Investigating the motion of a bouncing ball


  • The transmitter is attached to a basketball using blu-tack.
  • The reciever is clamped in position vertically above the transmitter.
  • The motion sensor uses a mixture of infared and ultrasonic signals to measure accurately the distance between the transmitter and the reciever.
  • The sensor is activated, and the ball is dropped and allowed to bounce two or three times.
  • The ball must not rotate and stay beneath the reciever at all times.
  • The data can be displayed as a distance-time graph.
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