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• Level: GCSE
• Subject: Maths
• Word count: 1081

In this investigation, I am going to study the free fall velocity of a parachute. I am going to see how the speed changes by varying the weight the parachute will have.

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Introduction

In this investigation, I am going to study the free fall velocity of a parachute. I am going to see how the speed changes by varying the weight the parachute will have.

Terminal velocity is when forces of weight and air resistance are balanced. This means that weight = air resistance.

However, there are factors that could vary the terminal velocity. One of them is weight. If the weight is bigger it will fall faster because if the weight increases the air resistance has to increase as well and it achieves this by a greater velocity.

Another one is the surface area of the parachute. A bigger parachute will fall slower than a smaller one so that the air resistance is balanced with the weight, other wise it would be too much air resistance.

The shape of the parachute is another factor.  The length of the strings can affect the shape. If they are too short, there will be less air resistance, which means the parachute will fall faster and the number of strings also affects it this way.

Middle

First, after you made your apparatus, someone stands on top of a table and puts the parachute at a certain height (always the same). Another person will be timing how long it takes the parachute to reach the floor with a chronometer. The parachute will only have 0.1 Newton the first time. After that, you record your results in a table (the weight in Newton’s and the time in seconds). Then you repeat the same 3 times to make sure it is not wrong and after getting an average, you calculate the terminal velocity, which is height/time. After, you do the same only this time you will add 0.1 Newton more. I will do this 7 times, each time adding 0.1 Newton. The range I am investigating is more the highest to the lowest readings.

Now, I will have to do a trial investigation to see if the experiment works.

 Weight (N) Time (s) Time 2 (s) Time 3 (s) Average time (s) 0.1 2.56 2.43 2.61 2.53 0.7 1.02 0.97 1.07 1.02

After this trial experiment, I have seen that my experiment did work out well but there where some problems.

Conclusion

I would have liked to extend my investigation by investigating how a hole through the middle of the parachute would affect the speed and how much accurate it would fall so that the next time I have to do an experiment like this, I would know that I have (or not) to put a hole through the parachute.  I think that as the hole gets bigger, the parachute will fall faster and more accurate.

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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