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My physics coursework is an experiment with gravity. The experiment is done by creating a parachute with a plastic bag.

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Introduction

Physics coursework.

My physics coursework is an experiment with gravity. The experiment is done by creating a parachute with a plastic bag. The parachute has a given area and is usually square shaped. This means that the area is easily calculated. There are lengths of string attached to the chute which hold a ball of play dough at the bottom.

image00.png

To do the experiment we have a choice of either keeping the mass of the play dough the same and keep changing the area of the chute, or we could keep the area of the chute the same and change the mass of the play dough each time. I have decided to keep changing the mass of the putty.

AIM: To find out if the weight of the putty has any affect on the speed at which the parachute falls.

PREDICTION: I think that the greater the mass of the putty, the faster the parachute falls.

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Middle

Time taken to fall

5 g

4 g

3 g

2 g

1 g

SAFETY FEATURES: There are only two hazards within this experiment, one of them is when you are using scissors to cut out the parachute, the other one is when your standing on a table to get enough height to drop the parachute from.

CONTROLNG VARIABLES: To make the experiment fair I need to control certain things. One of the is the height at which each parachute is dropped. If I drop them from different heights then I will get invalid results as the heavier one may be dropped from a different height to the lighter one. Another variable I need to control is the area of the parachute. If I do not keep the area of the parachute the same the results will not be right as a bigger chute will create more air resistance and fall slower.

RESULTS: The recordings in the following table are the results from the experiment.

Weight of putty

Time taken to fall

5 g

1.26 seconds

4 g

1.27 seconds

3 g

1.35 seconds

2 g

1.40 seconds

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Conclusion

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The graph below shows the results for the second experiment.

image03.png

This is the graph from the second experiment.

EVALUATION: The two tables and their graphs clearly show that my prediction was right. That the heavier the putty on the parachute, the faster the parachute falls. Although the second set of results have a greater range between the slowest and the fastest falling chutes then the first set of results, they both fully correspond with each other in as much as that they both show the same pattern. Both sets of results show that the greater the weight of the putty, the faster the chute falls.

CONCLUSION: The theory in my prediction must be right. I said in my prediction that the greater the size of the putty, the grater the effect gravity has on it because gravity has a bigger surface area to act upon. The tests I carried out have proven me right. They all show that the heavier putties (which are bigger in physical size) fall faster because gravity has more mass to work on.

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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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