Ballistics Animation

I’ve done a handful of animations lately:

This example shows the position and path of a moving projectile which is launched at a given velocity and angle. The math is high school physics, with a little calculus and trig thrown in. If you want to see that, download the workbook (link below), or consult a textbook or a smart kid.

The workbook has a data entry area and my usual animation controls. When the angle and velocity are entered, a results table shows how long the projectile will be in flight, how long it will take to get to maximum altitude, and what altitude and distance the projectile will reach. Some assumptions were made to simplify the model, as in all physics problems. The ground is flat at sea level, and the effect of air resistance is neglected.

Ballistics Animation Demo

Set the angle to 45° and the velocity to 100 m/s, and start the animation.

Ballistics Animation Demo
Ballistics Animation Demo
Ballistics Animation Demo
Ballistics Animation Demo
Ballistics Animation Demo

Here is the end of the animation for 30° and 7 m/s.

Ballistics Animation Demo

And this one is for 75° and 100 m/s

Ballistics Animation Demo

The workbook containing this model can be downloaded here: Ballistics.zip.

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Comments

  1. Jon,

    Sometimes — as when GapMinder.org excels — animation is very useful because we’ve run out of spatial dimensions to visualize our data, and we need time to serve as an extra dimension for grasping the effect of time.

    Other times — using animation such as this ballistics demo provides — the animation might serve as a cute icebreaker: an orienting introduction that helps draw the audience into considering more complex charts with higher data density.

    Thank you for teaching such methods. I’m trying to find situations where such Excel animations could be useful.

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