Science Articles

Types of Motion

If you look around at moving objects, you will notice that they are performing different kinds of motion. For example, a car moves straight along the road, an electric fan rotates, and the pendulum of a clock moves sideways in either direction. These are all different types of motion, exhibited by varying objects.


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If you look around at moving objects, you will notice that they are performing different kinds of motion. For example, a car moves straight along the road, an electric fan rotates, and the pendulum of a clock moves sideways in either direction. These are all different types of motion, exhibited by varying objects.

The different kinds of motion an object can have are as follows-

  1. Translatory motion:

The motion in which all the particles of a body move through the same distance in the same time is called translatory motion.

The examples of translatory motion are – a car moving along a road, a ball rolling on the ground, pulling out a drawer, firing of a bullet from a gun, a stone hurled from a catapult etc.

Translatory motion is of two kinds:

  • Rectilinear Motion: When a body moves along a straight line, the motion described by the body is rectilinear motion. Examples of rectilinear motion are – A train moving on a straight rail track, freely falling stone, a coin moving over a carom board etc.
  • Curvilinear Motion: When a body moves along a curved line, the motion described by the body is called curvilinear motion. Examples of Curvilinear motion are – A ball thrown upward at an angle, a car or train moving along a curved road or track.
  1. Circulatory motion:

A motion in which a body moves about a fixed axis without changing its position is called the circulatory motion.

Examples of circulatory motion are – a spinning wheel, a potter’s wheel, a spinning top, a ceiling fan, earth moving around the sun etc.

  1. Oscillatory motion:

The ‘to and fro’ or “back and forth” motion described by an object as a whole, along the same path, without any change in the shape of the object is called oscillatory motion.

Examples of Oscillatory motion are – Children on a swing, Pendulum of a clock moving to and fro, needle of a sewing machine moving up and down, piston of a car, spray pump etc.

  1. Vibratory motion:

The vibratory motion is a kind of oscillatory motion in which the moving object undergoes change in shape or size.

Examples of vibratory motion – All musical instruments such as guitar, violin, sitar, drums, produce vibratory motion.

  1. Periodic motion:

A repetitive motion, which repeats itself after a fixed interval (or regular interval) of time is called the periodic motion.

Examples of periodic motion are – The piston of motor car engine running at a constant speed, swinging pendulum of a wall clock, needle of sewing machine running at a constant speed, motion of a swing, the movement of lungs during breathing etc.

  1. Non- periodic motion:

A repetitive motion, which repeats itself, but not at fixed intervals of time, is called non- periodic motion.

Examples of non-periodic motion are – When brakes are applied to a moving vehicle, the motion described by wheels is non – periodic, a cricket ball rolling down the ground gradually slows down and finally stops and hence, is performing non periodic motion, a cricket ball rolling down the ground gradually slows down and finally stops, etc.

  1. Random Motion:

An object which suddenly changes its motion from one kind to another kind is said to have a random motion.

Examples of random motion are – a flying mosquito, motion of football or hockey player on the ground, a flying kite etc.

  1. Uniform motion:

When a body covers equal distances in equal intervals of time along the same straight line, the body is said perform uniform motion.

Examples of uniform motion are – a flying aero plane, a train moving at constant speed etc.