A Projectile Spreadsheet

Basic Version

Since the kinematics spreadsheet handles free fall problems with ease, it is very easy to modify it to handle projectile motion. Here's how:

spreadsheet formulas
  1. Since you are going to have both horizontal and vertical motions in the spreadsheet, it is worthwhile to change some column headings:
    1. Change cell B6 to "y vel (m/s).
    2. Change cell D6 to "y (m)".
  2. In cell B7, change the starting vertical velocity to "-30".
  3. In cell E6, type the column heading for the horizontal velocity, "x vel (m/s)".
  4. In cell E7, type the value of the horizontal velocity, "10".
  5. Since the horizontal velocity is constant, the value of cells E7 through E32 equals the value of cell E7. Therefore the formula for cell E8 is "=E7".
  6. Highlight cells E8 through E32 and use "Fill Down" from the Calculate menu to copy the horizontal velocity value through the rest of the column.
  7. In cell F6, type the column heading for the horizontal position, "x (m)".
  8. In cell F7, type the value of the starting horizontal position, "0".
  9. The horizontal distance moved by the projectile equals its (constant) velocity times the elapsed time. The formula for cell F8, therefore, is "=$F$7+E8*(A8-$A$7)".
  10. Use "Fill Down to copy this formula to cells F9 through F32.
a sample spreadsheet

It is easy to build an "enhanced" version of this spreadsheet. Here are some examples of using this spreadsheet to solve numerical problems involving projectiles.


last update September 16, 2000 by JL Stanbrough