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An experiment into terminal velocity by dropping a cup cake case

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

        Stuart Norris                02/05/2007

An experiment into terminal velocity by dropping a cup cake case

                This experiment is to investigate into terminal velocity. We will be doing this by dropping a cup cake case and calculating the terminal velocity, and deriving an equation for this. When these results are plotted onto a graph, I predict that there will be a constant increase in velocity due to the drag eventually being out balanced by the weight and causing the case to accelerate towards the ground.

Apparatus

  • Meter ruler
  • stopwatch
  • cup cakes case
  • stand and clamp

Method

        We set the experiment up so that the meter ruler was vertical to the ground using clamps and stands. Then at 7 intervals on the ruler, we timed how long it took for the case to land on the floor from the selected height. This experiment had little variables but we had to make sure that we did not change the surface area of the cup cake case because if it was change then it would affect the drag.

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Middle

        In this experiment, we must be careful that the experiment does not fall over as it is on a bench and could hit some one in the head if not properly secured.

Theory

        This experiment or though relatively simple needs to have theory explained to see why we were doing the experiment.

As on object falls it has 2 main forces working on it drag and weight, the weight pulls it down to the ground and the drag lifts the case and fights against the weight. If the case is dropped from a height of for example 1m then it will fall to the ground in a set time T. At the start of the fall, it will fall slower than at the end due to acceleration. This increasing acceleration is caused by the drag gradually being out balanced by the weight. At a certain point of the fall the weight and drag are balanced this is called the terminal velocity.

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Conclusion

  • H = VT + (X-Vt)

This will give me the terminal velocity for 1 meter. This is 0.952ms-1

Evaluation

        My aim for this experiment was to derive an equation and to perform an experiment that would prove my equation correct by using a graph. As you can see I have produced a graph and it shows a straight line through the origin. This means that the equation must be able to be arrange so that it fits the Y = mx+c equation.

  • H = VT + (X-Vt)
  • Y = mx + c

The experiment had some flaws however the only major source of error was human error. If I was to do the experiment again I would have taken 5 readings for each height. Also to reduce the human error I would have a highly sensitive pressure matt where the case would fall therefore when the case lands onto the mat the timer would be stopped this would eliminate human error.

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This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Height and Weight of Pupils and other Mayfield High School investigations section.

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