March 16, 2023

Equation, Properties, Examples | Parabola Formula

The parabola is a fascinating and multifaceted geometric shape that managed to captured the attention of mathematicians and scientists for centuries. Its unique properties and simple yet elegant equation makes it a powerful equipment for shaping a broad array of real-life phenomena. From the flight path of a projectile to the shape of a satellite dish, the parabola plays an essential role in various fields, consisting of physics, architecture, engineering, and mathematics.

A parabola is a type of U-shaped section, which is a curve made by intersecting a cone with a plane. The parabola is determined with a quadratic equation, and its characteristics, for instance the vertex, focus, directrix, and symmetry, offer precious understanding into its behavior and uses. By grasping the parabola formula and its features, we can obtain a deeper admiration for this essential geometric shape and its multiple usages.

In this blog, we wish to explore the parabola in detail, from its properties and equation to instances of how it can be used in many fields. Even if you're a student, a working professional, or merely interested regarding the parabola, this blog will give a exhaustive summary of this interesting and essential idea.

Parabola Equation

The parabola is defined by a quadratic equation of the form:

y = ax^2 + bx + c

where a, b, and c are constants that determine the shape, size, and position of the parabola. The value of a decides if the parabola opens upward or downward. If a > 0, the parabola opens upward, and if a lower than 0, the parabola opens downward. The vertex of the parabola is situated at the point (-b/2a, c - b^2/4a).

Properties of the Parabola

Here are the properties of Parabola:


The vertex of the parabola is the spot where the curve shifts direction. It is additionally the point where the axis of symmetry intersects the parabola. The axis of symmetry is a line which goes across the vertex and splits the parabola within two equal portions.


The focus of the parabola is the point] on the axis of symmetry which is equal distance from the vertex and the directrix. The directrix is a line that is perpendicular to the axis of symmetry and placed at a distance of 1/4a units from the vertex.


The directrix is a line that is perpendicular to the axis of symmetry and located at a length of 1/4a units from the vertex. Every points on the parabola are equidistant from the directrix and the focus.


The parabola is symmetric in relation to its axis of symmetry. This means that if we select any given point on one side of the axis of symmetry throughout the axis, we obtain a corresponding point on the other side of the axis.


The parabola crosses the x-axis at two points, specified by the formula:

x = (-b ± sqrt(b^2 - 4ac)) / 2a

The parabola intersects the y-axis at the location (0, c).

Examples of Parabolas

Here are few primary examples of Parabolas:

Example 1: Graphing a Parabola

Let's graph the parabola y = x^2 - 4x + 3. First, we have to calculate the vertex, axis of symmetry, and intercepts. We can use the formula:

vertex = (-b/2a, c - b^2/4a)

to calculate the vertex. Placing in the values a = 1, b = -4, and c = 3, we obtain:

vertex = (2, -1)

So the vertex is located at the location (2, -1). The axis of symmetry is the line x = 2.

Later, we can find the x-intercepts by setting y = 0 and calculating for x. We get:

x^2 - 4x + 3 = 0

(x - 3)(x - 1) = 0

Accordingly the parabola intersects the x-axis at x = 1 and x = 3.

In the end, the y-intercept is the coordinates (0, c) = (0, 3).

Utilizing this information, we can sketch the graph of the parabola by plotting the vertex, the x-intercepts, and the y-intercept, and drawing the curve of the parabola between them.

Example 2: Application of Parabola in Physics

The parabolic curve of a projectile's trajectory is a general example of the parabola in physics. While an object is thrown or launched upward, it follows a path that is portrayed by a parabolic equation. The equation for the path of a projectile thrown from the ground at an angle θ with an initial velocity v is provided by:

y = xtan(θ) - (gx^2) / (2v^2cos^2(θ))

where g is the acceleration as a result of gravity, and x and y are the horizontal and vertical length traveled by the object, respectively.

The trajectory of the object is a parabolic curve, with the vertex at the location (0, 0) and the axis of symmetry parallel to the ground. The focal point of the parabola depicts the landing spot of the projectile, and the directrix portrays the height above the ground where the projectile would strike if it weren’t affected by gravity.


Finally, the parabola formula and its characteristics play a crucial function in many domains of study, involving arithmetics, architecture, physics, and engineering. By knowing the equation of a parabola, its properties for example the focus, directrix, and vertex, and symmetry, and its various applications, we can gain a detailed comprehension of how parabolas function and how they could be utilized to model real-life scenario.

Whether you're a learner finding it challenging to comprehend the theories of the parabola or a professional want to utilize parabolic equations to real-life challenges, it's crucial to possess a solid foundation in this elementary topic.

That's where Grade Potential Tutoring walks in. Our experienced instructors are available online or face-to-face to offer individualized and effective tutoring services to guide you conquer the parabola and other mathematical theories. Connect with us right now to plan a tutoring session and take your arithmetic abilities to the next level.