March 16, 2023

Equation, Properties, Examples | Parabola Formula

The parabola is an attractive and multifaceted geometric shape that managed to captured the attention of scientists and mathematicians for hundreds of years. Its unique properties and unsophisticated yet exquisite equation makes it a powerful equipment for modeling a wide assortment of real-life phenomena. From the path of a projectile to the shape of a satellite dish, the parabola plays an essential role in numerous fields, including physics, architecture, engineering, and mathematics.

A parabola is a type of conic portion, which is a curve created by intersecting a cone through a plane. The parabola is determined by a quadratic equation, and its properties, such as the focus, directrix, vertex, and symmetry, offer precious insights into its action and uses. By comprehending the parabola formula and its properties, we can obtain a detailed recognition for this fundamental geometric shape and its multiple applications.

In this blog, we wish to examine the parabola in detail, from its equation and properties to instances of in what way it can be used in many fields. Even if you're a learner, a working professional, or just curious regarding the parabola, this article will offer a complete overview of this interesting and essential concept.

Parabola Equation

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

y = ax^2 + bx + c

at this point a, b, and c are constants which determine the shape, size, and position of the parabola. The value of a controls whether the parabola opens upward or downward. If a is more than 0, the parabola opens upward, and if a < 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 location where the curve shifts direction. It is also 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 parts.


The focus of the parabola is the point] on the axis of symmetry which is equal distance from the directrix and vertex. 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 which is perpendicular to the axis of symmetry and located at a distance of 1/4a units from the vertex. All 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 means that if we select any given point on one side of the axis of symmetry across the axis, we obtain a corresponding point on the other 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 point (0, c).

Examples of Parabolas

Here are number of basic 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 utilize the formula:

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

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

vertex = (2, -1)

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

Later, we can find the x-intercepts by assuming y = 0 and solving for x. We obtain:

x^2 - 4x + 3 = 0

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

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

Ultimately, 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 between them.

Example 2: Using a Parabola in Physics

The parabolic shape of a projectile's trajectory is a common example of the parabola in physics. While an object is launched or thrown upward, it follows a course that is represented by 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 due to gravity, and x and y are the horizontal and vertical distances covered by the projectile, respectively.

The trajectory of the projectile is a parabolic curve, with the vertex at the coordinate (0, 0) and the axis of symmetry parallel to the ground. The focus of the parabola represents the landing point of the object, and the directrix portrays the height above the floor where the object would hit if it weren’t impacted by gravity.


Finally, the parabola formula and its properties perform an important role in several fields of study, including math, architecture, physics, and engineering. By understanding the equation of a parabola, its characteristics for instance the vertex, focus, directrix, and symmetry, and its numerous applications, we could gain a deeper comprehension of how parabolas function and how they could be applied to model real-life phenomena.

Whether you're a learner struggling to grasp the theories of the parabola or a professional looking to utilize parabolic equations to real-life problems, it's crucial to possess a firm groundwork in this fundamental topic.

That's where Grade Potential Tutoring comes in. Our experienced tutors are accessible online or in-person to offer personalized and effective tutoring services to guide you conquer the parabola and other math concepts. Contact us today to schedule a tutoring session and take your math skills to the next level.