19 Rectilinear Motion Examples: Detailed Explanations

A rectilinear motion is a motion of an object in a path not necessarily in a straight line.

Some objects may travel with a uniform velocity without any acceleration called a uniform rectilinear motion whereas in some cases the speed of the object may vary along the path. Here is a list of rectilinear motion examples we are going to discuss below:-

Fruit Falling Down the Tree

As the fruit gets ripened, it gets detached and falls on the ground; and even when the heavy wind blows you find many fruits fallen on the ground around the tree.

Due to the gravitational force of attraction, a fruit falls linearly towards the ground as the fruit detached from the node of a branch of a tree.

rectilinear motion examples
Fruit felled down; Image Credit: Pixabay


You must have seen a group of soldiers marching on the ground or you must have marched during the occasion. The speed of soldier marches in a row remains constant throughout the marching session, hence it is an example of a uniform rectilinear motion.


A ball thrown from a height moves in a path towards the bowling pins depending on the force applied to accelerate the center of mass of the bowling ball. As the ball is thrown towards the pin, the bowling ball will follow a path to collide with the bowling pins.

Bowling ball; Image Credit: Pixabay

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While we are running, we either maintain our speed constant or vary accordingly. If a person running on a stadium in a rectilinear motion maintains a constant speed at every interval of time then we say that a person is in a uniform rectilinear motion.

Arrow Hitting the Object

An arrow released from an archer follows a straight path until it hits the target. It follows the rectilinear motion with a speed of an arrow gradually decreasing as it travels through the medium.

Car Travelling on the Road

A car traveling on a road accelerates at a constant speed, or increases or decreases its velocity is also an example of rectilinear motion.

Car in a rectilinear motion; Image Credit: Pixabay

As we plot a graph of displacement v/s time, the graph may be an inclined line or a straight line.

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Pushing a Load

A man pushes a load of 45kg in weight and displaces a load at a distance of one meter per second. A force is applied on the object to drag the object every one meter in one second, such that the displacement of the object remains the same throughout, hence it is said to be in a uniform rectilinear motion.

Boulder Sliding Down

A boulder sliding down travels almost in a straight inclined path towards the horizontal land. The velocity of a boulder increases gradually and then decreases as it touches the horizontal surface. If we plot a graph of velocity versus time then we will trace a parabolic curve on a graph.


A train moving on a track is also an example of rectilinear motion. The speed of a train depends upon the combustion of coal to boost the engine. The velocity of a train may increase or decrease along the path.

Train in motion; Image Credit: Pixabay

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A swimmer swimming in a swimming pool travels in a rectilinear motion. A person can swim in the water because of the buoyant force exerted on the body of a person. While swimming, a person follows a path in the water.

Swimming; Image Credit: Pixabay

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Kicking the Ball

Upon kicking a ball, the potential energy associated with a ball is converted into kinetic energy and sets into motion. The ball moves in a rectilinear motion upon kicking the ball.


The electric lifts move in a vertically upward or downward direction converting the electrical energy into mechanical energy. The motion of the lift is also a rectilinear motion example.

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A boy riding a bicycle maintains the momentum upon giving the velocity to the bicycle.

Riding a bicycle; Image Credit: Pixabay

The momentum of a bicycle is equal to the total mass of the bicycle and a rider and the velocity of the bicycle. The motion of a cycle is in a rectilinear motion.

Pulling the Trolley

You must have used a shopping trolley at the malls. The motion of a trolley is equal to the rectilinear motion as a trolley covers a specific path on the push or pull force incident on the handle of a trolley.


A person walking in a path covers an equal distance at every interval of time. Hence, the motion of a person is said to be in a uniform rectilinear motion.

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As the condensed molecules gain high potential energy and become unstable, this potential energy is turned into kinetic energy and the water molecules accelerate towards the ground.

Raindrops from the sky; Image Credit: Pixabay

This is due to the gravitation potential energy of the Earth that brings the raindrops down on the surface. The motion of the raindrop falling on the ground follows the rectilinear motion.

Flow of Water

The water flows from the upper level to the lower level land in the form of mechanical energy. The flow of water carries the sediments along with it. This venturing of water in a kinetic motion is also in a rectilinear motion. The velocity of the water varies depending upon the volume of the water.


The rockets flying in space follow the third law of Newton. To release the rocket in space, an equal force has to be generated to oppose the gravitational pull of the Earth.

The motion of a rocket; Image Credit: Pixabay

A rocket engine is mostly made of Hydrogen fuel that supplies enough energy to produce trust on a ground opposing gravity. The rockets move vertically upward in a rectilinear motion and leave into space.


A girl sliding down moves down in an inclined path converting her gravitational potential energy into kinetic energy.

Pulling the Object with the help of Pulley

When you pull the object with the help of a pulley, for example, a man drawing water from a well, the motion of an object is rectilinear.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the distance covered by an object moving in a rectilinear motion with a velocity of 20km/hr in 35 minutes?

Given: v=20km/h

T=35 min

We know that v=d/t

→ d=vt

d=20km/h x 35 min= 20/60 x 35=11.67kms

Hence, in 35 minute the object will cover 11.67 km.

On what factors does the rectilinear motion of an object depend?

The object sets into motion due to the external impedance of force.

The rectilinear motion of an object depends upon the force applied, the momentum gained by the object, and the gravitational force exerted on the object.

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