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Investigation to find out how one chosen variable can affect the rate of descent of a parachute - There are many different factors that can be taken into consideration and varied to see what has the best effects on the rate of descent

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Introduction

Parachutes Investigation

Aim

The aim of this investigation is to find out how one chosen variable can affect the rate of descent of a parachute. There are many different factors that can be taken into consideration and varied to see what has the best effects on the rate of descent. The options where:

a) The size of the canopy,

b) The weight pulling on the parachute,

c) The length of the chords,

d) The shape of the canopy

Also the forces acting on the parachute had to be taken into consideration and appreciated for how they could be influenced or used to aid the rate of descent.

        The forces came in the form of air resistance and gravity.

Procedure

I chose to see what the effects of the weight the parachute had to support would have on the rate of its descent. My original prediction after some general thinking was that the heavier the parachute was, the faster the parachute would descend. I believe this to be totally true as it is a logical thought process; a feather falls slower than a hammer indicating heavier objects fall quicker than lighter objects. Also the aerodynamics matters, if a surface area of a side of a brick is cut out on a piece of paper and dropped at the same time as the brick the brick will hit the ground before the paper.

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Middle

Testing and Results

The next step was to test the parachute to make sure it fell to earth in a moderately steady fashion and gain some results to prove my prediction and investigate parachutes.

        The test drops were successful without any ballast and the parachute fell to earth or the floor of the science room without drifting very far away from the point of release. One obvious thing that could be observed is that the parachute fell in a spiral indicating that the weight already was not distributed evenly over the four connecting points of the cord to the canopy, or there was a an air current in the science room. This could not be made perfect and the balance was only slightly out and so I left this, as I did not consider this to make much difference to the descent of the parachute.

        After the parachute was tested an official plan was laid out. The parachute would be dropped from two meters. This was decided, as it would be a better scale to be plotted on a graph and was a safe height to be dropped from, as there was not much stability in standing on tables in the science room.

        I decided

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Conclusion

The results did not fully turn out how I expected them to. I expected that as more and more weight was added the parachute would keep falling at faster speeds. I don’t think the results turned out as I expected there must have been a mistake some were along the line when the results were obtained. I think it was when they were recorded.

Evaluation

Overall the experiment was not a major success, as the results did not seem correct. I do not think that the evidence is very reliable. Looking at how I conducted the experiment I would like to repeat the investigation and be more careful and precise when I obtain results. I would take more care when I record the results and double check each one to make sure that it is correct. The results as a whole were erratic.

There is enough evidence from the results to say that the lighter the ballast on the parachute then the more assurance there is for a smoother journey to ground. I think this would apply to all parachutes.

If I ever repeat this investigation I will defiantly use more than one parachute of the same size and repeat all the tests three times so I gain the average results of three parachutes. With more results the trend of the parachutes becomes more apparent and better points and conclusion be drawn from them.

This investigation was not a success or failure but a stepping-stone into how to plan and do a better investigation next time.

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