Linear Motion vs Non Linear motion
Linear motion and nonlinear motion are two ways of categorizing the motions in nature. This article covers the similarities, sufficient conditions, requirements and finally the differences between linear motion and nonlinear motion.
Linear motion is the motion on a straight line. This is also known as rectilinear motion. The motion of an object has several properties. The velocity of an object is the rate of change of displacement vector, or simply put, the distance travelled in unit time. Velocity is a vector, which means it has a magnitude as well as a direction. The magnitude of the velocity alone is known as the speed of the object. The acceleration of an object is the rate of change of velocity of the object. Acceleration is also a vector. The linear momentum of an object is the product of velocity of the object and the mass of the object. Since mass is a scalar quantity and velocity is a vector quantity, momentum is also a vector. Newton’s first law is a fundamental law for linear motion. It states that the velocity of a body remains constant unless the body is acted upon by an external force. Since velocity is a vector, the direction of the movement is not changed. If the initial movement of the object is linear, the object will continue to move on a linear path, provided no external force is applied. Even if an external force is applied, if it is in the direction of the movement, the object will still move on a linear path. If the net force on the object is on the direction of the movement, the objet will continue to move on a linear path but with acceleration.
Any motion that is not linear can be classified as a nonlinear motion. Any nonlinear motion requires two conditions. First condition is that there must be net force acting on the object. Second condition is that the net force acting upon the object must be applied in a direction not parallel to the motion. A very small segment of nonlinear motion can be considered linear. Most of the motions encountered in daily life are nonlinear. In a nonlinear motion, there is always a change in direction. Even if the speed of the object is constant, change in the direction causes a change in velocity vector. This means the object is constantly accelerating. An object moving on a nonlinear path is always on acceleration. Newton’s second law states the acceleration of a body is parallel, directly proportional to the net force, and inversely proportional to the mass.
What is the difference between linear motion and nonlinear motion?
• Linear motion does not require a net force but nonlinear motion requires a net force.
• A net force acting parallel to the movement will cause a linear motion; a net force applied in a direction not parallel to the movement will cause nonlinear motion.