Motion & its types : Physics notes


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General Science is a very important part of SSC, UPSC, Bank, Railway, Police etc. different competitive exams so SSC NOTES PDF today we share Physics Notes for Competitive Exams.

What is Motion ?

Motion, in physics, change with time of the position or orientation of a body. Motion along a line or a curve is called translation. Motion that changes the orientation of a body is called rotation. In both cases all points in the body have the same velocity (directed speed) and the same acceleration (time rate of change of velocity). The most general kind of motion combines both translation and rotation.

Types of Motion

Now, let us talk about the dierent types of motions that can be seen in an object. These are Linear, Rotary, Oscillating motion, and Periodic motion. Each of these types is achieved with a dierent mechanical means. Let us learn more about them in detail.

1) Linear Motion :- In linear motion, the object moves from one position to another in either a curved path or a straight line. On the basis of the type of path taken by an object, linear motion is further classied as:

Rectilinear Motion – Here, the path taken by an object is a straight line.
Curvilinear Motion – Here, the path taken by the object is curved.

One of the best examples of linear motion is linear actuators where you can nd cars, cycles, trains and other vehicles travelling in one straight direction. But it will not be called as a linear motion when the road or rail track is perfectly circular. You can even nd linear cylinders that display linear motion in pneumatic, hydraulic and electric options. A linear motion has a lot of signicance in the eld of manufacturing, automation, robotics, etc.

2) Rotary Motion : Rotary motion is a kind of motion where the object moves in a circle. This type of motion occurs when an object rotates at its own place or axis. The rotary motion was the rst type of motion that was invented by scientists in primitive times.

Some of the examples that would help you understand about the rotatory motion are: Earth rotating on its own axis about the sun is the best example of rotary motion. Another example is the movement of the wheels and steering wheel of the car in the driving state. You will nd that both are rotating around their own axis. The same thing goes with the engine of the car as it also moves on its own place. Similar to linear cylinders, nowadays rotary actuators are extensively used in various industries. These cylinders come in pneumatic, electric, and hydraulic options.

3) Oscillatory Motion : This is the third type of motion that is characterized by the movement of the object in the form of front and back oscillation. In other words, an oscillatory motion is dened as the movement of an object around its mean position. If an object repeats the cycle of its motion after a specic time period, then it is regarded as an oscillating motion.

One of the best examples of oscillating motion is the pendulum of a clock. It repeats its motion after a certain time frame. In actual sense, the pendulum is not displacing from its position. It is stationary in one position, yet it displays motion. Such type of recurring motion after a certain time period is called an oscillating motion.

In this kind of motion, the movement of the object is termed as oscillation. This is because of the repeated nature of the motion that takes place after a set time period. A few other illustrations of an oscillating motion are: When a child oscillates to and fro around its xed position on the swing.  Table fan is another example of periodic motion.

Both linear, as well as a rotary actuator, has oscillating motion. Sound waves are the result of oscillation of particles. When the cords of the sitar or guitar are struck, then they move to and fro about their mean position (i.e, oscillatory motion).

4) Periodic Motion: Periodic motion is a type of motion that is repeated at equal time intervals.

A few examples of this motion is a bouncing ball, a rocking chair, a swing in motion, a water wave, a vibrating tuning fork etc.

Uniform Motion

Definition: This type of motion is defined as the motion of an object in which the object travels in a straight line and its velocity remains constant along that line as it covers equal distances in equal intervals of time, irrespective of the duration of the time.

If a body is involved in rectilinear motion and the motion is consistent, then the acceleration of the body must be zero.

Example of Uniform Motion

  1. If the speed of a car is 10 m/s, it means that the car covers 10 meters in one second. The speed is constant in every second.
  2. Movement of blades of a ceiling fan.

Non Uniform Motion

Definition: This type of motion is defined as the motion of an object in which the object travels with varied speed and it does not cover same distance in equal time intervals, irrespective of the time interval duration.

If a body is involved in rectilinear motion, and if the motion is not consistent, then the acceleration of the body must be non-zero.

Example of Non Uniform Motion

  1. If a car covers 10 meters in first two seconds, and 15 meters in next two seconds.
  2. The motion of a train.


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