March 16, 2023

Equation, Properties, Examples | Parabola Formula

The parabola is an attractive and versatile geometric shape that managed to captured the attention of mathematicians and scientists for ages. Its unique properties and simple yet exquisite equation makes it a powerful equipment for shaping a wide array of real-life phenomena. From the path of a projectile to the shape of a satellite dish, the parabola performs an essential role in numerous domains, consisting of physics, architecture, engineering, and mathematics.

A parabola is a kind of conic portion, which is a curve made by intersecting a cone through a plane. The parabola is defined with a quadratic equation, and its properties, such as the vertex, focus, directrix, and symmetry, give valuable understanding into its performance and applications. By grasping the parabola formula and its characteristics, we could obtain a deeper appreciation for this fundamental geometric shape and its multiple applications.

In this article, we wish to explore the parabola in detail, from its equation and properties to examples of how it can be utilized in multiple fields. Even if you're a student, a professional, or simply interested regarding the parabola, this blog article will offer a exhaustive overview of this intriguing and essential concept.

Parabola Equation

The parabola is stated with a quadratic equation of the form:

y = ax^2 + bx + c

at this point a, b, and c are constants that determine the shape, size, and position of the parabola. The value of a controls whether the parabola opens up or down. If a is more than 0, the parabola opens upward, and if a lower than 0, the parabola opens downward. The vertex of the parabola is located 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 point where the curve changes direction. It is additionally the point where the axis of symmetry intercepts the parabola. The axis of symmetry is a line which passes across the vertex and splits the parabola into two equal halves.


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


The directrix is a line which is perpendicular to the axis of symmetry and situated at a length of 1/4a units from the vertex. Every points on the parabola are equal distance from the focus and the directrix.


The parabola is symmetric with regard to its axis of symmetry. This means that if we select any point on one side of the axis of symmetry throughout the axis, we attain a corresponding point on the opposite side of the axis.


The parabola intersects 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 number of primary examples of Parabolas:

Example 1: Graphing a Parabola

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

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

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

vertex = (2, -1)

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

Subsequently, we can work out the x-intercepts by assuming y = 0 and calculating for x. We get:

x^2 - 4x + 3 = 0

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

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

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

Applying this knowledge, we could draw the graph of the parabola by plotting the vertex, the x-intercepts, and the y-intercept, and portraying the curve of the parabola between them.

Example 2: Using a Parabola in Physics

The parabolic curve of a projectile's trajectory is a general example of the parabola in physics. When an object is thrown or launched upward, it follows a course which is represented by a parabolic equation. The equation for the course of a projectile thrown from the ground at an angle θ through an initial velocity v is given by:

y = xtan(θ) - (gx^2) / (2v^2cos^2(θ))

here g is the acceleration due to gravity, and x and y are the horizontal and vertical length covered by the object, respectively.

The trajectory of the object is a parabolic curve, along with the vertex at the point (0, 0) and the axis of symmetry corresponding to the ground. The focus of the parabola depicts the landing spot of the object, and the directrix portrays the height above the floor where the object would strike if it were not influenced by gravity.


Finally, the parabola formula and its properties perform an important role in various domains of study, including arithmetics, physics, engineering, and architecture. By understanding the equation of a parabola, its properties such as the directrix, vertex, and focus, and symmetry, and its several applications, we can obtain a detailed understanding of how parabolas work and how they can be utilized to model real-life scenario.

Whether you're a learner finding it challenging to grasp the theories of the parabola or a working professional looking to apply parabolic equations to real-life problems, it's crucial to have a strong groundwork in this basic topic.

That's where Grade Potential Tutoring comes in. Our expert instructors are available online or in-person to offer customized and effective tutoring services to guide you master the parabola and other math concepts. Contact us today to schedule a tutoring session and take your arithmetic abilities to the next stage.