List of Topics

SfC Home > Physics > Gravity >

Energy from Gravity of Objects Projected Downward

by Ron Kurtus (updated 29 May 2023)

When an object at some height in projected downward and released, its initial velocity becomes a factor in its kinetic energy (KE) but does not affect its potential energy (PE).

You can calculate the PE, KE and total energy (TE) for an object that is thrown downward with some simple equations. You can then verify that the final velocity is the same as obtained from the gravity derivations.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions. Useful tool: Units Conversion

Potential energy of object

The potential energy (PE) of an object projected downward is independent of its velocity. It is only dependent of the height above the ground.

Initial and final PE and KE

Initial and final PE and KE

Thus, the initial PE is:

PEi = mgh

The final potential energy is:

PEf = 0

The potential energy of the object is independent on its kinetic energy.

Kinetic energy when projected downward

The initial kinetic energy of an object projected downward is dependent on its initial velocity:

KEi = mvi2/2


The object accelerates until it hits the ground at a final KE:

KEf = mvf2/2

Total energy and final velocity

The total energy relationship is:

PEi + KEi = PEf + KEf

mgh + mvi2/2 = 0 + mvf2/2

Divide by m, multiply by 2 and rearrange terms to get the final velocity:

vf2 = 2gh + vi2

vf = √(2gh + vi2)

This equation corresponds with the equation from Velocity Equations for Objects Projected Downward:

v = √(2gy + vi2)

where y is the displacement below the starting point.


Potential energy with respect to gravity is PE = mgh. When the object is dropped, thrown downward or projected upward, its kinetic energy becomes KE = mv2/2, along with a factor of the initial velocity.

The sum of the PE and KE is the total energy, which is a constant. Equating the initial total energy with the final total energy, you can determine the final velocity of the object.

Gain confidence through small successes

Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials


Gravity and Potential Energy - University of Alaska

Potential Energy Calculator

Gravity Resources


(Notice: The School for Champions may earn commissions from book purchases)

Top-rated books on Simple Gravity Science

Top-rated books on Advanced Gravity Physics

Students and researchers

The Web address of this page is:

Please include it as a link on your website or as a reference in your report, document, or thesis.

Copyright © Restrictions

Where are you now?

School for Champions

Gravity topics

Energy from Gravity of Objects Projected Downward

Gravity and Gravitation

Gravity topics



Derivations of equations

Falling objects

Projected downward

Projected upward

Gravity and energy

Gravity and work

Effects of gravity

Gravity applications


Let's make the world a better place

Be the best that you can be.

Use your knowledge and skills to help others succeed.

Don't be wasteful; protect our environment.

You CAN influence the world.

Live Your Life as a Champion:

Take care of your health

Seek knowledge and gain skills

Do excellent work

Be valuable to others

Have utmost character

Be a Champion!

The School for Champions helps you become the type of person who can be called a Champion.