AQA Mechanics 1


 Motion in 1 and 2 Dimensions

The kinematics of displacement, velocity and acceleration as polynomial functions of time only, including the use of calculus methods.

Candidates are expected to be able to derive the equations of motion under constant acceleration. They should also be able to quote them where appropriate.


To include the use of graphical methods, e.g. velocity/time graphs.

Velocity and acceleration as derivatives of a position vector. Candidates will be expected to obtain a position vector from either a velocity vector or an acceleration vector and suitable initial conditions.

Vectors will be expressed either in the form r = ai + bj or in column vector form.

Problems involving resultant velocities.

To include solutions using either columns vectors or vector triangles and scale drawing.

The magnitude of a vector.

To include speed.

 Statics and Forces

The concept of force as a vector. Restricted to one and two dimensions.


Forces to include weight, reaction, friction and tension. Use of F £ µN as a model for static friction. G = 9.8ms-2


Composition and resolution of forces acting at a point.


Equilibrium of a particle under coplanar forces acting at a point. Methods of solution include resolution of forces and use of components.



Concepts of mass and momentum. Momentum as a vector in one and two dimensions.



The principle of conservation of momentum applied to two particles. Knowledge of Newton’s Law of Restitution is not required.


 Dynamics of a Particle Moving in a Straight Line

Newton’s Laws of Motion. Second law expressed in the forms Resultant force is: The rate of change of momentum, The product of mass and acceleration.


Simple applications of the above to the linear motion of a particle of constant mass.  Including a particle moving up or down an inclined plane. Variable forces will be given as functions of time only.


Use of F = µN as a model for dynamic friction.


Connected particles. To include the motion of two particles connected by a light inextensible string passing over a smooth fixed peg when the forces on each particle are constant.


 Motion under Gravity

Vertical motion under uniform gravity. 


Composition and resolution of forces, accelerations and velocities


Motion of a particle moving freely under uniform gravity in a vertical plane. To include range, time of flight, greatest height and the equation of the path.

Use of trigonometric identities is not required.

 Mathematical Modelling

Use of assumptions in simplifying reality.

Candidates are expected to use experimental or investigational methods to explore how the mathematical model used relates to the actual situation.

Mathematical analysis of models.

Modelling will include the appreciation that: It is appropriate at times to treat relatively large moving bodies as point masses; The friction law F £ µN is experimental; The force of gravity can only be assumed to be constant under certain circumstances.

Interpretation and validity of models. Candidates should able to comment on the modelling assumptions made when using terms such as particle, light, inextensible string, smooth surface and motion under gravity.


Refinement and extension of models.