March 16, 2023

Equation, Properties, Examples | Parabola Formula

The parabola is a fascinating and versatile geometric shape which has captured the attention of scientists and mathematicians for centuries. Its exceptional properties and unsophisticated yet elegant equation makes it a powerful tool for shaping a broad array of real-world phenomena. From the trajectory of a projectile to the shape of a satellite dish, the parabola plays a crucial role in many domains, involving physics, architecture, engineering, and math.

A parabola is a kind of U-shaped piece, which is a curve formed by intersecting a cone over a plane. The parabola is specified with a quadratic equation, and its properties, for example the directrix, vertex, focus, and symmetry, provide important understanding into its behavior and uses. By comprehending the parabola formula and its properties, we can get a detailed recognition for this fundamental geometric shape and its many usages.

In this blog, we will examine the parabola in detail, from its properties and equation to instances of in what way it could be utilized in multiple fields. Even if you're a learner, a working professional, or simply curious regarding the parabola, this blog article will offer a comprehensive overview of this intriguing and crucial idea.

Parabola Equation

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

y = ax^2 + bx + c

where a, b, and c are constants that decide the shape, size, and position of the parabola. The value of a determines if the parabola opens up or down. If a > 0, the parabola opens upward, and if a less 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 shifts direction. It is further the point where the axis of symmetry intersects the parabola. The axis of symmetry is a line that passes across the vertex and splits the parabola within two equal parts.


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


The directrix is a line that is perpendicular to the axis of symmetry and situated 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 in relation to its axis of symmetry. This defines that if we reflect any point on one side of the axis of symmetry across the axis, we attain a corresponding point on the other 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 location (0, c).

Examples of Parabolas

Here are few basic examples of Parabolas:

Example 1: Graphing a Parabola

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

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

to figure out the vertex. Placing in the values a = 1, b = -4, and c = 3, we attain:

vertex = (2, -1)

So the vertex is located 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 solving 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.

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

Applying this information, we could sketch the graph of the parabola through plotting the vertex, the x-intercepts, and the y-intercept, and portraying the curve of the parabola between them.

Example 2: Use of Parabola in Physics

The parabolic shape of a projectile's trajectory is a standard applications of the parabola in physics. While an object is launched or thrown into the air, it follows a path which is described by a parabolic equation. The equation for the course of a projectile thrown from the ground at an angle θ with an initial velocity v is represented 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 distances traveled by the projectile, respectively.

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


In summary, the parabola formula and its properties play a crucial function in various domains of study, consisting of arithmetics, architecture, physics, and engineering. By knowing the equation of a parabola, its characteristics for example the vertex, focus, directrix, and symmetry, and its several uses, we can obtain a detailed understanding of how parabolas work and how they could be used to model real-life scenario.

Whether you're a learner struggling to grasp the theories of the parabola or a professional looking to utilize parabolic equations to real-life challenges, it's essential to have a firm foundation in this elementary topic.

That's where Grade Potential Tutoring enters. Our experienced teachers are available online or in-person to provide individualized and productive tutoring services to guide you conquer the parabola and other math concepts. Contact us today to schedule a tutoring session and take your math abilities to the next stage.