• Join over 1.2 million students every month
• Accelerate your learning by 29%
• Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
1. 1
1
2. 2
2
3. 3
3
4. 4
4
5. 5
5
6. 6
6

# Exploring the factors which affect a Parachute's descent rate

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Philip Jenkins

Physics A2 Practical Investigation

Exploring the factors which affect a Parachute’s descent rate

Aim – To find the relationship between the descent speed of a parachute and

1. Its surface area
1. The number of suspension lines

The three factors above should produce two clear relationships and one which is more uncertain.

• Payload weight ∝ descent speed
• Surface area         1
• The no of lines which the parachute uses to suspend the payload weight will affect the descent speed, but it is difficult to predict how the speed will vary.

Preliminary work

## Experiment 1 – Payload Weight

Middle

Notice how the line of best fit is not continued to the y-axis. This intercept should give the speed of the parachute with no mass attached, but as previously discussed the randomness of the parachute’s fall meant that no real value was suitable for its speed. It was decided that the trend line should only be drawn in the range of measurements taken.

It is clear however that as the payload mass increases, so does the decent speed so the first experiment was a success. The physics behind this result are that the downward force on the parachute will increase as the mass is increased, making the upward drag force of the parachute canopy less and less effective due to its constancy. The downward acceleration will therefore increase.

## Experiment 2 – Parachute Radius

Five separate parachutes were constructed, with a range of radii from 10cm up to 25cm. The mass was kept at a constant 50g and the height again was 4.87m. Six suspension lines were used.

Conclusion

• The lines tended to become tangled after a drop, an time was wasted untangling them. Some way of keeping the lines separate would certainly improve the investigation.
• The process of collecting the parachutes from the bottom of the stairwell was tedious and tiring. A recovery mechanism would have been a good idea – possibly some lightweight string attached to the top of the parachute, enabling it to be pulled back up the stairwell.

With more time available, it would have been beneficial to construct more parachutes of differing radii, to see if there was an optimum radius for a particular mass, requiring the least material. This would be relevant to a real world situation, where parachutes need to be safe but also use a small enough amount of material in order to be economically viable to produce.

Another interesting experiment would have been to see if the payload’s angle of suspension made a difference to the descent speed. E.g. “Would a payload close to the canopy fall faster or slower than one which was further away?”

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Forces and Motion section.

## Found what you're looking for?

• Start learning 29% faster today
• 150,000+ documents available
• Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
• Join over 1.2 million students every month
• Accelerate your learning by 29%
• Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

# Related GCSE Forces and Motion essays

1. ## The larger the area of the parachute, the lower the rate of descent.

The weight (plasticine) can then be tied on to the strings that are attached to the parachute. The parachute can now be taken to the 5.5 metre height and dropped. The parachute should be timed as it falls, and the horizontal distance from the point it was dropped should also be measured.

2. ## In this experiment I aim to find out how the force and mass affect ...

The picket fence was checked and adjusted to make sure it was inline with the trolley and not at an angle to the trolley. I then checked and adjusted the light gate to make sure the picket fence could pass through the light gate without colliding with it and that it was perpendicular to the light gate.

1. ## Investigation on how the Surface area of a Canopy Affects the Rate at Which ...

Because I am changing the surface area of the canopy the larger the canopy the more resistance there will be. Changes based on prelininary results In the prelininary experiment I used parachutes with the following measurements:- 1. 25cm by 25cm 2.

2. ## Strength of a string practical investigation

the wire * Marker: This will be placed along each string before the experiment begins this will show how much the string extends when a force is applied to it. * Metre rule: Placed in a stationary position and as the marker moves when force is added to it I will be able to see the extension.

1. ## The Area of a Parachute Compared To Its Rate of Descent

Apparatus Apparatus Quantity Thin Plastic 3m� String 12.6m Weight 10g Scissors 1 Metre Stick 1 Timer 1 Black Marker 1 Safety Safety Issue How to Prevent Issue What to do if the problem occurs Dropping weights on Hold all weights firmly and place Rub any bruises.

2. ## Muscular Strength/Endurance and Flexibility

This relationship is also related to the power (F x D/T) whereas: low power is generated by low force and high velocity: moderate velocity and moderate force generate greatest power: and low velocity and high force generate the low power (Figure 2).

1. ## To investigate how the size of a parachute effects acceleration of the blutac attached ...

then I will attach the four pieces of string to the four corners with sellotape. I will make sure that the pieces of string are in the same pace on each corner and the same place on each parachute. I will then attach the weight (the blutac)

2. ## Investigate the factors affecting the rate of descent of a parachute.

If there are two parachutes (of the same mass), one with an area of 10 metres and the other 5 metres, the 10-metre parachute will encounter more collisions with air particles. The collisions will cause the parachute to slow down.

• Over 160,000 pieces
of student written work
• Annotated by
experienced teachers
• Ideas and feedback to