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Simulating Asteroid Impact

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  • Essay length: 1522 words
  • Submitted: 11/07/2002
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AS and A Level Fields & Forces

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Mechanics Coursework

Simulating Asteroid Impact

In this experiment the ball bearings will be the free falling objects which will simulate a meteorite or asteroid impact. Any object which is allowed to free fall in the Earth's gravitational field will experience an acceleration (g) equal to 9.8 m/s2. In order to determine the velocity of the ball bearing at the moment of impact, two equations are needed. The equation,

(1) vf = vi - gt

states that the final velocity, vf, is equal to the initial velocity, vi, minus the acceleration due to gravity, g, multiplied by the amount of time, t, it takes the object to fall. During this experiment you will be unable to accurately measure the fall time. Because of this, another equation is needed to determine the final velocity.

(2) d = vit - 0.5gt2

Equation (2) allows you to calculate the distance, d, an object will fall within the Earth's gravitational field, if the amount of fall time is known. It should be noted that d is negative (-) for objects moving towards the Earth. In other words a falling object has a negative displacement.

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