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What is the study of kinematics?

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Quick Answer

The study of kinematics is the branch of physics and mathematics that deals with pure motion, without reference to force or mass. Both fields use kinematics equations to describe movement in the abstract, in terms of distance, displacement, speed and related concepts.

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Full Answer

In physics, kinematics is considered a sub-branch of mechanics. In mathematics, kinematics is considered a sub-branch of geometry.

Kinematics problems are especially used in physics to teach students basic principles of motion, without muddying the waters with the cause of the motion or the forces involved. Mathematicians use kinematics to express geometrical concepts in terms of movement -- for example, expressing rotation in terms of motion around a unit circle.

Outside of abstract problems and systems of equations, engineers use kinematics extensively to build mechanical devices, such as robots and prosthetics.

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