Setting up Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to simulate projectile motion.

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Simulating Projectile Motion Using Microsoft Excel

V.J. Clarke

Setting up Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to simulate projectile motion.

The study of the motion of a projectile, called ballistics can be simulated mathematically by use of a spreadsheet, i.e. Microsoft Excel.

To create a simulation, a few assumptions have to be made about the projectile, its launch device, and the forces acting on it in a perfect situation.

The mass of the projectile is irrelevant because the acceleration due to gravity is roughly the same wherever you are on Earth, and what ever the mass of the object.

I assumed that acceleration due to gravity was a constant 9.8 meters/s/s, that air resistance was negligible, and that the projectile itself was suitably streamlined to reduce drag.

In fact, for calculations concerning short-range projectile motion, air resistance can be totally disregarded, but calculations concerning real life long-range artillery would need to include a compensation factor to make up for this loss of momentum.

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The only force acting on the projectile during its flight is the constant downward vertical force caused by gravity of 9.8 N.

Formulas used.

U = Muzzle Velocity (velocity that projectile leaves the gun, measured in meters per second [m/s], in this case Muzzle Velocity is always 400m/s )

a = Acceleration due to gravity, rounded to a constant 9.8 meters /s/s

Uy = Vertical Velocity

Ux = Horizontal Velocity

In order to calculate the flight time of the projectile, i.e. the amount of time the projectile stays in the air, the actual velocity as ...

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