March 16, 2023

Equation, Properties, Examples | Parabola Formula

The parabola is an appealing and versatile geometric shape that has drew the attention of scientists and mathematicians for hundreds of years. Its unusual properties and plain yet exquisite equation makes it a powerful tool for modeling a wide assortment of real-life phenomena. From the flight path of a projectile to the shape of a satellite dish, the parabola plays a crucial role in various domains, involving engineering, physics, architecture, and math.

A parabola is a kind of U-shaped portion, that is a curve made by overlapping a cone with a plane. The parabola is defined with a quadratic equation, and its characteristics, for example the directrix, vertex, focus, and symmetry, give valuable understanding into its behavior and applications. By understanding the parabola formula and its characteristics, we can gain a deeper appreciation for this essential geometric shape and its many applications.

In this article, we will explore the parabola in depth, from its properties and equation to examples of how it can be used in multiple fields. Even if you're a student, a working professional, or just interested regarding the parabola, this blog article will give a complete 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

at this point a, b, and c are constants that establish the size, shape, and position of the parabola. The value of a determines 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 spot where the curve shifts direction. It is additionally the point where the axis of symmetry intercepts the parabola. The axis of symmetry is a line that passes through the vertex and divides the parabola into two equal halves.


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


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


The parabola is symmetric with regard to its axis of symmetry. Which defines that if we consider any point on one side of the axis of symmetry across the axis, we attain a corresponding point on the opposite side of the axis.


The parabola intersects the x-axis at two points, provided by the formula:

x = (-b ± sqrt(b^2 - 4ac)) / 2a

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

Examples of Parabolas

Here are few simple examples of Parabolas:

Example 1: Graphing a Parabola

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

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 figure out the x-intercepts by assuming y = 0 and solving for x. We get:

x^2 - 4x + 3 = 0

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

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

Finally, the y-intercept is the point (0, c) = (0, 3).

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

Example 2: Using a Parabola in Physics

The parabolic shape of an object's trajectory is a general applications of the parabola in physics. Once a projectile is launched or thrown upward, it follows a course that is represented with a parabolic equation. The equation for the course of a projectile launched from the ground at an angle θ through an initial velocity v is provided by:

y = xtan(θ) - (gx^2) / (2v^2cos^2(θ))

here g is the acceleration because of 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, with the vertex at the point (0, 0) and the axis of symmetry parallel to the ground. The focus of the parabola represents the landing point of the projectile, and the directrix represents the height above the floor where the object would hit if it were not impacted by gravity.


Finally, the parabola formula and its properties perform a crucial function in various domains of study, including arithmetics, physics, engineering, and architecture. By understanding the equation of a parabola, its characteristics for instance the focus, directrix, and vertex, and symmetry, and its various applications, we could obtain a deeper understanding of how parabolas function and how they can be used to model real-world phenomena.

Whether you're a student finding it challenging to understand the concepts of the parabola or a working professional looking to use parabolic equations to real-life problems, it's essential to have a strong groundwork in this basic topic.

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