How Does Weight Affect Distance?

The weight of an object influences the distance it can travel. However, the relationship between an object’s weight and distance traveled is also dependent on the amount of force applied to it.

In the most traditional sense, the heavier an object is, the less distance it can efficiently travel. Think of two identical pickup trucks with the same engine size and power; under normal conditions, both vehicles can travel the same distance at the same rate. However, if one of the pickup trucks increases its weight by adding a considerable load to its bed, it requires more fuel and must exert more energy to travel that same distance.

This standard relationship between weight and distance is also evident for objects in flight. Think of throwing a basketball versus a medicine ball; although both objects are roughly equal in shape and diameter, due to its increased weight, the medicine ball requires a greater amount of force and strength to travel the same distance as the basketball. That said, when both balls are shot from a cannon, the medicine ball travels farther because it possesses a higher mass-density. The heavier medicine ball is impacted far less from impeding forces such as gravity and air friction. Objects with a higher mass-density therefore travel faster and farther than those with a low mass-density, but only if they are launched with an infinite amount of force.