An Investigation into how the Area of a Parachute Affects the Speed that the Parachute falls from a set height.
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An Investigation into how the Area of a Parachute Affects the Speed that the Parachute falls from a set height. Introduction In this investigation I will test five different sized parachutes to find out weather the bigger the parachute is the slower it falls. I am going to try and keep the test as fair as possible but there are a lot of things that can affect the experiment so the results might not be entirely accurate. Diagram Method Firstly I decided what size range of the parachute I was going to use I decided that the range would be 15cm diameter to 35 cm diameter going up in 5cm intervals because the material I was going to use was to small to get use any bigger sizes than that. Below is a table of information about the range I have chosen. Diameter Radius Area (? x r?) 15 cm 7.5 cm 177 cm? 20 cm 10 cm 314 cm? 25 cm 12.5 cm 491 cm? 30 cm 15 cm 707 cm? 35 cm 17.5 cm 962 cm? ?
I have also discovered that air resistance plays a large part in the drop speed of the parachute. This has made me come to the prediction that my experiment will also be affected by air resistance and the larger the surface area of the parachute the more air resistance there will be. My prediction is as follows: The larger the surface area of the parachute the longer it will take to complete the drop. Results Below are my results as you can see I have worked out the average drop time and shown the height I dropped it from each time. Diameter of Parachute. Area of Parachute. Height of Drop. Drop Time TEST 1 Drop Time TEST 2 Drop Time TEST 3 Average Drop Time 15cm 177cm? 2.5m 2.85 secs 2.76 secs 2.94 secs 2.85 secs 20cm 314cm? 2.5m 3.14 secs 3.14 secs 3.19 secs 3.15 secs 25cm 491cm? 2.5m 4.09 secs 4.05 secs 4.07 secs 4.07 secs 30cm 707cm? 2.5m 4.18 secs 4.17 secs 4.18 secs 4.17 secs 35cm 962cm? 2.5m 4.54 secs 4.47 secs 4.55 secs 4.52 secs As you can see from the table I only did 5 different parachute sizes because the material that we used
The results I did get were reasonably accurate and did follow the correct pattern so my prediction and information I concluded from my results was correct but could have been better. The fact that the larger the surface area of the parachute the longer the drop time is useful to know and understand because: When people are jumping from airplanes or ejecting from fighter planes then the designers need to know how big the parachute should be. Also in theory someone could have a extremely large parachute and spend a lot longer in the air. The only problem with this I have discovered from research is that if you get caught over a current of hot air you could end up rising higher because the hot air turns the parachute into a hot air balloon and you could end up getting stuck up in the sky for some time because it is possible for you to get stuck in these hot air currents for some time. This most recently happened in the 2nd World war when Para gliders jumping from airplanes got stuck above the battlefield because of all the fire and hot air being given off. Since then the parachute has been re-designed so that this cannot happen anymore because the parachute isn't big enough. Michael McLean 11LH
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