When you throw a non-uniform object through the air, most points on it follow complex paths. Only the center of mass follows a parabolic trajectory.


Once you throw a non-uniform object by the air, most factors on it comply with complicated paths. Solely the middle of mass follows a parabolic trajectory.


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11 Comments

  1. But the trajectory of any particle can be described as combined motion of the COM and rotation about the COM.

  2. This holds true for throwing several separate objects together. Their centre of mass will take a parabolic trajectory, though the objects will likely fly apart

  3. Well, this at least helps explain how things like axes are not that hard to sink.

    There’s a relatively very large amount of time the head (more precisely, the bit) is in a position to sink into the target compare to when it is not.

  4. I used to be pretty good at throwing a sledgehammer up in the air and flipping it around. I coukd flip it forwards and backwards, three times around, even behind my back. I remember I always liked flipping hammers and tennis rackets, and so when I read ‘Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test’ and Neal Cassidy was flipping sledgehammers around, I knew I had to get in on that. I should start again when it gets warm!

  5. This has nothing to do with the uniformity of the object. A non-uniform hammer can be thrown in such a way to not rotate in the air, giving every particle in it a parabolic trajectory. A uniform spherical ball can be thrown with spin so that only the center of mass has a parabolic trajectory, and every particle rotates about it.

  6. Maybe rename ‘complex’ to complicated? A complex path has other implications in physics, like for wave motion and behavior.

  7. I’m wondering, if you were to “straighten” the blue and red trajectories (project them on the parabola), would they be cycloids of the same frequency ? Same Amplitude ? Both ? None ?

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