March 16, 2023

Equation, Properties, Examples | Parabola Formula

The parabola is a fascinating and versatile geometric shape that managed to captured the attention of scientists and mathematicians for centuries. Its unusual properties and plain yet exquisite equation makes it a powerful tool for modeling a broad range of real-life phenomena. From the path of a projectile to the shape of a satellite dish, the parabola plays an important role in many fields, involving engineering, physics, architecture, and mathematics.

A parabola is a kind of U-shaped piece, that is a curve created by intersecting a cone with a plane. The parabola is defined with a quadratic equation, and its properties, for instance the directrix, vertex, focus, and symmetry, give valuable insights into its action and applications. By grasping the parabola formula and its properties, we could get a deeper admiration for this rudimental geometric shape and its many applications.

In this article, we will study the parabola in detail, from its equation and properties to instances of in what way it could be applied in many fields. Whether you're a student, a working professional, or merely interested regarding the parabola, this blog article will give a exhaustive overview of this interesting and crucial concept.

Parabola Equation

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

y = ax^2 + bx + c

at this point a, b, and c are constants which establish the size, shape, and position of the parabola. The value of a controls whether the parabola opens upward or downward. If a > 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 point where the curve changes direction. It is also the point where the axis of symmetry crosses the parabola. The axis of symmetry is a line which goes across the vertex and divides the parabola within two proportionate halves.


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


The directrix is a line which 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 with respect to its axis of symmetry. This states that if we select any given 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, 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 some basic examples of Parabolas:

Example 1: Graphing a Parabola

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

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

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

vertex = (2, -1)

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

Subsequently, we can find the x-intercepts by setting 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.

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

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

Example 2: Use of Parabola in Physics

The parabolic shape of an object's trajectory is a standard applications of the parabola in physics. When an object is thrown or launched upward, it follows a path which is represented with a parabolic equation. The equation for the path of a projectile launched 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 because of gravity, and x and y are the horizontal and vertical distances covered by the projectile, 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 focal point of the parabola depicts the landing point of the projectile, and the directrix represents the height above the floor where the projectile would strike if it weren’t affected by gravity.


In conclusion, the parabola formula and its characteristics perform an essential role in many domains of study, involving math, physics, engineering, and architecture. By knowing the equation of a parabola, its properties for instance the vertex, focus, directrix, and symmetry, and its numerous utilizations, we can obtain a detailed understanding of how parabolas function and how they can be utilized to model real-world phenomena.

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

That's where Grade Potential Tutoring enters. Our experienced teachers are accessible online or in-person to provide individualized and effective tutoring services to help you master the parabola and other math concepts. Call us today to schedule a tutoring session and take your mathematical skills to the next stage.