SAT II Physics : Linear Motion Principles

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT II Physics

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Sat Subject Test In Physics

A model rocket, launched vertically, travels upwards  and falls to the ground. At what point during flight is the rocket's acceleration greatest?

Possible Answers:

Just before landing

The acceleration remains constant throughout the flight

The answer cannot be determined from this information

Just after launch

At the highest point of the flight

Correct answer:

The acceleration remains constant throughout the flight


Newton's second law tells us that force and acceleration are directly related; if there is an acceleration, then there is also a force. This principle can help conceptualize this question.

While the rocket is in the air, there is only one force acting on it: the force of gravity. We can thus conclude that the acceleration of the rocket is directly related to this force. Since the force on the rocket (the force of gravity) is constant, its acceleration is also constant.

Any object that is in projectile or free-fall motion will experience a constant acceleration due to gravity.

Example Question #6 : Understanding Newton's Second Law

Which of these is not an example of Newtonian mechanics?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:


Newtonian mechanics apply to all objects of substantial mass travelling at significantly slower than the speed of light.

Newton's law of universal gravitation, Newton's second law, momentum, and the equation for mechanical energy all fall under Newtonian mechanics.

The mass-energy equivalence suggests that mass can change as the speed of an object (such as an electron) approaches the speed of light. Newtonian mechanics assume that mass is constant, and do not apply to objects approaching the speed of light.

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