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Types of motion in Physics

In this article, we will learn about the types of motion. There are four basic types of motion namely

Types of Motion

1. Translational motion- Motion along a straight line or motion along a curved path.

2. Rotational motion- It is a motion about a fixed axis for example Ferris wheel.

3. Periodic motion- This type of motion repeats itself after a fixed interval of time or equal interval of time.

4. Random motion- This type of motion is unpredictable and the object can move in any direction.

Types of motions mentioned above are four basic types of motion. Some other types of motions include

5. Oscillatory motion

6. Linear/rectilinear motion

7. Curvilinear motion

8. Circular motion

9. Rolling motion

10. Vibratory motion

11. Projectile motion

Some of these motions fall under the category of four basic types of motion. In this article, we are covering different types of motion with examples. If you want to learn about the basics of motion you can visit our article What is motion in physics to get a general overview of motion in physics.

Let us now visit each type of motion with its definition and examples.

Translational motion

In translational motion, all points of a moving body move the same distance in a given amount of time. Some examples of translational motion include a train moving on its track, a man walking on the road, birds flying in the sky, etc.
Translational motion is of two types

1. Rectilinear motion:-

rectilinear motion or linear motion occurs when the object under consideration moves in a straight line.

2. Curvilinear motion:-

This type of motion occurs when an object moves in a curved path, for example, a stone thrown up in the sky.

For learning more about this type of motion please visit our article on the translational motion.

Rotational motion

Rotational motion is the motion of a body about a fixed axis.
If a rigid body is moved in such a way that all the particles constituting it undergoes circular motion about a common axis then that type of motion is rotational motion. Also in the case of rotational motion, the body’s centre of mass does not undergo any translation motion. Or we can say that the centre of mass will remain in place for example rotation of the earth along its own axis, spinning top, a door swivelling on its hinges as you open it, etc.

Periodic motion

Periodic motion is a motion that repeats itself after an equal interval of time. Some examples of periodic motion include
1. The motion of the earth in its orbit around the sun which repeats itself after a time period of one year.
2. Movement of clock pendulum which repeats itself after a fixed time period.
3. The motion of a rocking chair, a bouncing ball, a vibrating tuning fork, and a swing in motion are a few examples of bodies/objects executing the periodic motion.

Random motion

This type of motion is unpredictable and the object can move in any direction. An example of this type of motion includes the motion of gaseous molecules. Their motion is random in nature. They are continuously moving in random directions.

While it is important to know about the various types of motion a body can execute but first of all, it is important to know what is motion. Motion and its study lay the basic foundation for the student who wants to study physics. It is important for students to master these concepts.

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