How Can Non-Relativistic Projectile Motion Remain So in the Relativistic Limit?

Masoud Asadi-Zeydabadi, Alberto C Sadun


Projectile motion in classical physics can be defined as a two-dimensional motion with constant acceleration in one direction and uniform motion in another direction. In classical mechanics this motion can be achieved if a force is applied in one direction and with some initial velocity in another direction. In relativistic dynamics, the equations of motion in both directions are coupled to each other and surprisingly the object experiences varying accelerations in both directions. We can say the non-relativistic projectile motion is not a projectile motion at all in relativistic physics. In this paper the conditions for the projectile motion in the relativistic regime are discussed. We discuss the two cases of constant force and constant acceleration. Another goal of this paper is that to show a computational example can be discussed in class for students to learn a topic in physics and improve their computational skills.

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Applied Physics Research   ISSN 1916-9639 (Print)   ISSN 1916-9647 (Online)

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