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Discover the effect that height and weight have on terminal velocity.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

David Willey        Investigating Falling Cake Cases                                

Investigation of Falling Cake Cases

Planning and Introduction:

To begin I will explain the term terminal velocity. Terminal velocity is the maximum speed that a given fallen object can obtain.

Terminal velocity is obtained in this way; when an object first starts falling, it accelerates for some while after starting. Eventually the force upwards due to the air flowing over the objects body is equal to the weight acting downwards, and it no longer accelerates.

We can also obtain by using Newton’s 2nd law how there is no acceleration on the falling object. We know that when there is a greater gravitational force moving on a falling object than a frictional force, that it is accelerating. However when both these forces equalise, a constant speed is present. Therefore the total net force on that object is 0. By using Newton’s equation of Force = Mass X Acceleration, and inducing the fact that F = 0, and that mass can not equal zero, that the acceleration must also be zero.

Diagram to Explain Terminal Velocity:

I will vary two factors in this experiment to determine their affect on terminal velocity; these will be the drop height and weight. I will record the time taken for a cake case, or a stack of cake cases, to fall from a certain height and record the results.

...read more.

Middle

140

1.04

1.16

1.09

1.09

128.4

127.54

180

1.41

1.34

1.48

1.41

127.7

127.54

2 Cake Cases 1.06g

Distance (CM)

Time Of Fall 1

secs

Time Of Fall 2

secs

Time Of Fall 3

secs

Time Of Fall Av

secs

Terminal Velocity cm/s

Average Terminal Velocity

40

0.25

0.24

0.28

0.25

162.0

165.58

80

046

0.48

0.50

0.48

166.7

165.58

100

0.60

0.59

0.64

0.61

163.9

165.58

140

0.84

0.82

0.84

.0.83

168.6

165.58

180

1.15

0.99

1.10

1.08

166.7

165.58

3 Cake Cases 1.76g

Distance (CM)

Time Of Fall 1

secs

Time Of Fall 2

secs

Time Of Fall 3

secs

Time Of Fall Av

secs

Terminal Velocity cm/s

Average Terminal Velocity

40

0.20

0.19

0.22

.203

197.0

203.28

80

0.39

0.35

0.45

0.40

200.0

203.28

100

0.49

0.44

0.52

0.48

208.3

203.28

140

0.68

0.71

0.65

0.68

205.9

203.28

180

0.86

0.91

0.91

0.877

205.2

203.28

4 Cake Cases 1.92g

Distance (CM)

Time Of Fall 1

secs

...read more.

Conclusion

To improve this experiment I could have used more scientific equipment, such as a QED Light Gate, so human error would not play such a big a risk as it did using my experiment. By using a QED Light Gate at either end of a selected distance, and dropping the cases through the LED, this would have provided me with extremely accurate results.

If I were to extend my experiment I would use a greater range of cake cases to determine whether the curve continues in the terminal velocity or whether this was just a fluke result. I would also do a smaller change in weight between each case, by doing something like putting a ball of plastascene inside.

If I was to do an additional experiment I would change that drag of the object and the weight as I know that these both affect terminal velocity. I can predict that the drag will affect terminal velocity as the greater the drag the greater the air resistance and so the slower the terminal velocity will be. However I do not know if this is directly proportional, or how it acts with weight so it would be interesting to find out.

...read more.

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