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An Investigation To Find Out What Effect The Weight Of A Falling Object Has On The Terminal Velocity Of It.

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An Investigation To Find Out What Effect The Weight Of A Falling Object Has On The Terminal Velocity Of It.

There are a number of factors that effect terminal velocity, such as surface area, weight of object, height from which it is dropped, and wind.  I have chosen to investigate the weight of the object.  It will be the only variable that I change.  


The aim of this investigation is to find out what happens to the terminal velocity when the mass and weight of the falling paper case is changed.


I predict that the mass of the paper case will have a direct result on the terminal velocity: the heavier the paper case, the faster the terminal velocity will be.  I am basing my prediction on the formula: (                 ).   Also, if the paper case is heavier it will have more gravitational pull pulling it down, thus increasing the speed.   I also predict that the lighter the paper case, the quicker it will reach its terminal velocity.  This is because to reach terminal velocity, the air resistance has to be equal to the accelerating force, if the accelerating force is less, then it should take less time for the air resistance to become equal to it.  


For my preliminary experiment, I did the experiment, but only

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 Record the time down on a table. Repeat the experiment for each weight three times.


Safety precautions:

Through out my experiment, I want to make sure that I keep safety as one of my top priorities.  To do this I must make sure that:

1. Before standing on the desktops, I must make sure that there are no small    spillages of water or any liquids that I could slip on.

  1. When standing on the desks to drop the paper cutlets, I am wearing trainers with a grip on the bottom of them, so that I do not fall off.
  2. I must make sure that I exert extreem caution when getting up and down from the desk, so that I do not hurt myself.
  3. I must remain aware of other people standing on top of the desktops, and make sure to be careful around them.
  4. To ensure that no one else slips over, I must make sure to pick up any paper cutlets of the floor.

Fair Test:

To ensure that the experiment remains fair, there are certain variables that need to be controlled:

  1. Make sure that you use the same equipment on every repeat of the      


  1. Let the same person start and stop the stopwatch, as some people have better eyesight and reaction times to others.
  2. Use the same paper cutlet on every repeat of the experiment, as some weigh slightly different amounts to others.
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Overall, I think that my experiment went quite well. I feel that my results were almost as accurate as they could have been allowing for human error, as the ranges between them were low.  I did not have any anomalies that stood out after I re-did my set of results for 0.7gramms, this also shows that my results were quite reliable.  

I really enjoyed doing this experiment, if I had more time, I would extend it further to try and find out the other part of my prediction.  I would use computers to time when the paper cutlets reached terminal velocity.  This would be more accurate, as it would cut out the human error margin.  I would also try and find another object (whose surface area did not change) to test the terminal velocity of as the paper cutlets, surface area was easily changed, which made the test slightly unfair.  

...read more.

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